Nestle Shifts Creative for $50 Million Lean Cuisine Biz to JWT

Move Is First Win for New York Office Under Creative Chief Peter Nicholson

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Nestle has shifted creative duties for its nearly $50 million Lean Cuisine ad account to WPP's JWT, New York, according to people familiar with the pitch. The move is the first win under the office's new creative leader, Peter Nicholson.

Mr. Nicholson took over as chief creative officer of the shop just as this pitch was beginning, filling a role that had been vacant for months after the departure of Ty Montague, who started his own shop with another JWT former senior executive, Rosemarie Ryan.

It's understood that the Nestle reached out to roster shops -- JWT is one, having done work for Stouffer's, Carnation, Skinny Cow and Toll House, among other brands -- as well as non-roster shops for the pitch, which took about one month start to finish.

JWT referred calls for comment to Nestle, which did not return a request for comment by press time.

The shift of the Lean Cuisine business comes after the low-calorie brand parted ways late last year with Havas' Euro RSCG, and as it prepares for a relaunch to try better appeal to healthy-minded consumers, many of whom are straying away from prepared food products.

According to Ad Age's Datacenter, Nestle's overall marketing spending in the U.S. amounts to about $1.3 billion. For the Lean Cuisine brand alone, which includes frozen and bagged snacks and dinners, and French bread pizza, the company in 2010 spent $48 million in domestic measured media.

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