Newell Rubbermaid Consolidates Global Media, Creative Duties

Omnicom Group's PHD to Handle Media, Publicis Groupe's BBH to Lead Creative

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After working with a smattering of local agencies in different regions for years, Newell Rubbermaid is consolidating the bulk of its advertising duties with one lead creative partner and one lead media-buying partner.

After a review, Publicis Groupe's BBH has been tapped to oversee creative execution and strategy, while Omnicom Groupe's PHD will handle global media-buying as well as strategic communication planning. Provided the merger of Publicis and Omnicom Group goes through, the account will be housed under a single ad holding company's umbrella.

Alan Rutherford, chairman of media consultancy Axiology, helped guide the search process. The moves encompass all of Newell Rubbermaid's advertising & promotions which totaled $265.3 million in 2012, according to a spokesman.

The agencies will begin transitioning work immediately on all brands, which include Sharpie, Papermate, Rubbermaid storage products, Graco, Calphalon cookware and Lenox.

Newell Rubbermaid CEO Michael Polk
Newell Rubbermaid CEO Michael Polk

Finding scale, efficiencies
The changes come under Michael Polk, who joined Newell Rubbermaid as CEO in July 2011 after spending eight years at Unilever and 16 years at Kraft. He's been focused on streamlining the company -- last month it closed a deal to sell its hardware business to private-equity firm Nova Capital Management Ltd. -- to focus on core divisons, including baby, writing, tools, home and commercial products. The consolidation of ad duties under fewer parts is in line with his mission.

Mr. Polk about a year ago brought in Richard Davies, a Unilever veteran, to replace former CMO Ted Woehrle. Said Mr. Davies, who's title is now chief marketing and insights officer at Newell Rubbermaid, in a statement: "For the first time, we are aligning all our brands and categories behind one set of agency partners to drive big ideas that create a strong point of difference for consumers. BBH and PHD are the best in the business at what they do. With their partnership, we now have the power to achieve much greater scale, reach and impact as we invest behind growing our brands worldwide."

The company is currently in the midst of carrying out what it calls a "Growth Game Plan" in the hopes of accelerating growth. As part of that process, it's trying to cut costs and find efficiencies -- something that will invest in e-commerce, innovation and a new design center slated to open next year.

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