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By Published on .

The issue of client conflicts and how best to deal with them produced a new ad agency last week, and cost another shop dearly.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. pulled an estimated $100 million in billings out of Wells BDDP, New York, and redeposited Clairol's Natural Instincts and Hydrience hair color at Intuition Group, New York, a new unit set up by WPP Group.

The Boost and Theragran brands from the company's Mead Johnson unit, as well as Vagistat, are expected to be reassigned also, with Boost headed to Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago. At press time, FCB's New York office and other Bristol-Myers agencies were pitching Vagistat, including Bozell Worldwide and Gotham.


Bristol-Myers executives could not be reached for comment; the changes are not expected to go into effect until March 1.

Wells' Clairol business in Europe is likely to go to Bozell, said executives close to the marketer, though Intuition Group -- with an assist from WPP's Paris-based Conquest unit -- may pursue the overseas business, too.

The need for Intuition Group -- spun off from WPP's J. Walter Thompson USA, New York -- arose when JWT found it could no longer balance conflicts between Unilever and Clairol, said agency executives.

JWT is agency of record for Unilever's worldwide haircare business, but in the U.S. had seen Unilever park all of haircare at DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago. While DDB Needham retains existing haircare brands, JWT was able to get the nod for the $82 million introduction of Unilever's ThermaSilk haircare brand (AA, Nov. 3).


The Bristol-Myers rupture with Wells dates back to spring, when the agency resigned Clairol's Herbal Essences brand due to conflicts with client Procter & Gamble Co. over the new Herbal Essences body wash.

That piece of the business shifted to Bozell, while Herbal Essences haircare went to Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, a production and advertising startup by Linda Kaplan Thaler, Wells' former executive creative director.

Kaplan Thaler, now working on a new 1998 campaign for Herbal Essences, and Bozell are involved in a shootout for the new Daily Defense haircare line from Clairol, with a decision expected by early December.

Intuition Group will open with $60 million in billings from Clairol products that also include Nice 'n Easy, Loving Care, Lasting Color, Ultress, Glints and Natural Instincts, all formerly at JWT.

Additionally, the unit also will handle the launch of an unnamed Clairol haircare line scheduled for the end of next year.


Led by President Lori Moskowitz Lepler, formerly JWT management director on Clairol, Intuition will focus on marketing to women.

The group won't limit itself to personal care, said Ms. Moskowitz Lepler, but will pursue categories not traditionally aimed at women.

The group will be separate both physically and administratively from JWT, but will draw upon WPP units as needed, Ms. Moskowitz Lepler said.

In a memo to employees, Wells President Paula Foreman said: "This is not entirely unexpected .*.*. this is all the more painful because each and every division has assured me that this has absolutely nothing to do with our work and

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