Mars Consolidates Uncle Ben's Global Account Under BBDO

Move Continues Agency Roster Realignment by Brand

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NEW YORK ( -- Mars Foods is continuing its roster realignment of agencies by specific brands, this time consolidating its Uncle Ben's rice brand under Omnicom Group's BBDO. The U.S. incumbent on the business is TBWA/Chiat/Day.

BBDO and TBWA, also part of Omnicom, referred calls to Mars, which didn't immediately return calls.

But in a statement, Bruce McColl, Mars' global chief marketing officer, said: "We get outstanding support from our current agency partners, and we feel that aligning each core brand under a dedicated global agency will more effectively build global communication platforms that yield best-in-class strategy and creative work to build our iconic brands. As one of our billion dollar brands, Uncle Ben's has obviously done well under current agency management, and with this consolidation, we are very optimistic about its future performance."

Mars in 2009 spent $438 million on domestic measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media, and of that, it spent almost $25 million on Uncle Ben's in the U.S. Much of that was print advertising. Global spending for the rice brand is estimated at $60 million.

The Uncle Ben's move is the latest in a series of agency shifts since last September, when Mars announced it would embark upon a new global agency strategy to reorganize ad assignments under four lead agency partners: Omnicom shops BBDO, TBWA and DDB, and independent SapientNitro.

This is the third Mars assignment given to BBDO in the past six months; the shop won Snickers late last year, and added the business for Wrigley and Extra.

Last month, Mars moved global creative duties for Twix to TBWA from SapientNitro. TBWA also handles pet brands Pedigree and Whiskas, and candy brands Skittles and Starburst.

The entire process of placing each of its core snack food and pet brands under a single creative agency is expected to take a year, so Mars is likely to make more changes to its roster in the coming months.

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