"Just over a year ago, Kellogg's decided to move one of their major business pillars, Special K in the U.S., away from Leo Burnett," said Publicis Communications CEO Arthur Sadoun in a note to staff. "It was of course a real blow, but the teams never gave up. Now, thanks to their determination, I am extremely pleased to tell you that Special K is coming home to Leo Burnett Chicago."
The note added that Kellogg's has been part of the Leo Burnett roster since 1950.
Representatives from JWT were not immediately available for comment.
After losing longtime client McDonald's last year, this appointment, along with the recent global win of Jim Beam's creative account, is a morale booster for Leo Burnett. The agency's shopper marketing agency, Arc, was also named the lead retail marketing shop for all MillerCoors brands, helping to offset Leo Burnett's loss of the Miller High Life creative account earlier in 2016.
Last week, the Publicis agency hired Andrew Swinand, entrepreneur and former president of sibling Starcom Mediavest Group, to serve as North American CEO. Leo Burnett is also acquiring The Abundancy and Ardent, two digital shops from the portfolio of Abundant Venture Partners, an accelerator network of startups and tech firms that Mr. Swinand started when he left SMG in 2011.
During a November conference call, Kellogg North America President Paul Norman noted that the company was "particularly pleased" with how the company stabilized the Special K cereal business. Kellogg is also trying to improve sales of additional Special K products including snack bars and crackers.