Saatchi has had the Right Guard business in the U.K. since 1984.
Gillette said the decision comes from a desire for more brand consolidation. The marketer consolidated blades and razors at BBDO Worldwide, New York, in 1988.
ONE AGENCY ON BOTH CONTINENTS
"We needed one agency [that] could do the work in both continents," said a spokeswoman. "Ayer doesn't really have much of a presence in Europe."
The company didn't consider switching the brand to BBDO, which works on the Gillette Series antiperspirant/deodorants, she said.
Right Guard is the No. 1 brand for men in the U.S. and the No. 2 brand in the U.K. Saatchi also is agency of record for the No. 3 antiperspirant/deodorant in the U.K., Gillette's Natural Plus brand.
In the U.S., Gillette trails Procter & Gamble Co. in the $1.5 billion market with a 21.2% share. P&G brands held a 26.3% share for the 12 months ended Aug. 25, according to Information Resources Inc.
$25 MILLION CAMPAIGN
Saatchi takes over Jan. 1, with Ayer's work for Right Guard ClearStick-along with BBDO's work to introduce Gillette Series ClearStick-to be part of an upcoming $25 million ad campaign.
Ayer shot a commercial under Right Guard's "Anything less would be uncivilized" campaign in the last few weeks.
Executives familiar with Gillette's advertising plans said Ayer had been in trouble with the Right Guard account since this past spring. One executive said there was a pitch involving roster agencies Ayer; BBDO; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; and Saatchi. The Gillette spokeswoman denied Ayer was in danger of losing the account at that time.