Mars Consolidates Brand Advertising Creative for 2010

Snickers to Move From TBWA/Chiat/Day New York to BBDO Worldwide

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In hopes of gaining efficiencies from its advertising partners, Mars is embarking on a new global agency strategy beginning in 2010 that aligns each of its core snack food and pet brands under a single creative agency.

"We get outstanding support from our current agency partners, and there is existing cooperation between the agencies in the building of our Mars brands," Bruce McColl, Mars' global chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "However, fragmented agency support of our biggest brands across major markets limits efficiencies and opportunities to build global strategies that can be easily applied worldwide. By aligning each core brand under a dedicated global agency, we will more effectively build global communication platforms that yield best-in-class strategy and creative work to build our iconic brands."

The most significant change under Mars' new plan is the return of the $30 million U.S. Snickers account to Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide from sibling TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York.

TBWA had handled Snickers' creative since 2006, and earned numerous creative awards for work under former top creative Gerry Graf. Its most recent iteration of the campaign, "Snickers Speak," was introduced under the office's new head creative, Mark Figliulo. The theme was a language dubbed "Snacklish," with outdoor executions telling customers to "Get a Degree in Snackomonics" and TV spots featuring rapper Master P and retired basketballer Patrick Ewing.

Despite the agency shifts, Mars appears committed to its current roster of four lead creative agencies, BBDO, DDB and TBWA, which are all part of Omnicom, and independent network SapientNitro. The marketer already consolidated media accounts earlier this year at Publicis Groupe's MediaVest after a shootout between incumbent shops.

The creative agency shifts will take place at the start of 2010, and will result in a rejiggering of several assignments among three of its four lead agencies:

  • BBDO will take on global duties for Snickers, regaining the business in the U.S, and also takes on global creative duties for the Mars bar (known as Milky Way in the U.S.), which means it gains business in markets such as Australia. It will also remain lead agency on M&M's and pet-food brands Cesar and Sheba.
  • TBWA loses the U.S. Snickers business but it will gain global duties for Whiskas cat food, which in certain markets, such as Latin America, was handled by BBDO. It keeps its current assignments for Pedigree dog food, Uncle Ben's rice and Twix candy bar.
  • SapientNitro will pick up global creative work for Dove chocolate.

DDB is largely unaffected by the new plan as it mostly handles Mars' Wrigley business, and Wrigley gum and confections brands are already aligned on a global basis across BBDO, DDB and TBWA.

Mars became the world's largest confectioner following its acquisition of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. last year, spending a total of $563 million on measured media in the U.S. alone in 2008. According to Euromonitor, Mars had nearly 15% of the global confectionary business in 2008. If Kraft Foods is successful in its bid for Cadbury, however, Mars would fall behind Kraft in every category except gum.

M&Ms and Snickers both held share in 2008. The brands lead the chocolate confectionery category globally, as measured by Euromonitor, M&M's with a 3.1% of the market, and Snickers just behind with 3%. The two brands also lead the overall confectionery category, both with 1.7% of the total. But Snickers fell slightly in 2008, to a 1.6% share. Data for 2009 is not yet available.

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