Duracell Moves Account to Wieden & Kennedy From Anomaly

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Berkshire Hathaway's Duracell has named Wieden & Kennedy, New York, as agency of record, the company said in a statement.

Credit: Duracell

The move comes around seven months after the brand moved to Berkshire from Procter & Gamble Co. But it may have more to do with a change in marketing leadership on the brand. Former Duracell VP-marketing Jeff Jarrett left this summer to become chief marketing officer of housewares marketer Everyware Global. Ramon Velutini, who had been a brand manager on Duracell at P&G and marketing director once the brand went to Berkshire, succeeded him.

Wieden arrives on the scene only two years after Anomaly took the account from its long-time incumbent Acme Idea Co. following a review. And it comes amid renewed creative focus on the category, following rival Energizer parting with longtime agency TBWA/Chiat Day last year and naming Camp & King as its lead shop earlier this year. Energizer launched a new campaign with a redesigned, slimmer bunny in September.

In a statement, Anomaly Global CEO Carl Johnson said Anomaly chose not to participate in the review that Wieden won, and said the agency change came following a review of all aspects of the Duracell business by Berkshire Hathaway that followed the departures of the brand's prior global CEO and general manager of Duracell North America. Anomaly actually ended its AOR role at the end of June, he said.

"This is 100% their right," Mr. Johnson said. "It is also 100% our right to choose not to participate in the process." He noted that the news comes within a week of Anomaly winning a Best of Show at the ANA Multicultural Excellence Awards and releasing its second high-profile Duracell/Star Wars holiday campaign.

"We love the Duracell brand and are very proud of our work we made together over the years," Mr. Johnson said. "We wish the new owners well and will be moving onto the many new opportunities in front of us."

Duracell spent $25 million on measured media last year, according to the Advertising Age Datacenter, down 19% from the year earlier.

"At Duracell, we strive to make world-class advertising, and we are looking forward to partnering with WKNY," Mr. Velutini said in a statement. "They have a proven track record of fueling iconic brands, and we are excited to see what we can do together."

Wieden New York Exec Creative Director Karl Lieberman said, "Duracell is a great American brand. They make a trusted product that's part of people's everyday lives, and they have a real appetite for breakthrough work that will resonate in culture. All of this adds up to an ideal partner for us. We're looking forward to helping build the brand and sell some batteries."

The battery business – at least the part that Duracell and Energizer compete in – has been in long-term decline as device trends moved toward things that take different types of batteries. That led P&G to divest the brand, and Energizer to split off its faster-growing Edgewell personal-care business in recent years.

But the category has had a bit of a resurgence since those deals were first announced in late 2014, with sales up 0.6% to $2.8 billion for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 8, according to Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank. That doesn't include the faster-growing e-commerce channel.

Energizer has been doing particularly well, with growth accelerating since its new advertising went live. Sales were up 13.6% and market share up 2.7 percentage points for the four weeks ended Oct. 8.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Mr. Velutini had been a marketing director at P&G. He became marketing director just after the brand went to Berkshire Hathaway in March. The story was also updated with a statement from Anomaly Global CEO Carl Johnson.

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