Spokespeople for both Nestle and Mars repeatedly have denied there was a review. But Advertising Age confirmed that requests for proposals were sent in June (AA, June 29) to agencies by Donald Dobie, director of co-marketing and trade promotion, with a response requested by July 15.
In the directive, Nestle didn't explain the reasoning for the reassessment of the business, which in package-goods marketing involves targeting local ads and promotions with key grocery retailers.
REPORTED TO BE $35 MIL
Nestle's reported $35 million budget for that work is considered huge by industry standards; Nestle said the figure was not accurate but wouldn't reveal its budget.
The exact number of agencies sent the RFP couldn't be determined, but it's believed Nestle had a short list of five or six shops during August and met with at least three of those.
The list is said to have included Einson Freeman, Paramus, N.J.; J. Brown/LMC Group, Stamford, Conn.; Inmark Services, Greenvale, N.Y.; and Reach Marketing, Westport, Conn.
None of the agencies contacted would comment.
In late August, there were reports two agencies were selected to augment Mars on the roster; their identities couldn't be confirmed. Nestle denied that.