P&G Consolidates Secret Deodorant Account With Wieden & Kennedy

Despite Widely Lauded Work on Always, Leo Burnett Hold on P&G Business Slips

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Procter & Gamble Co. has consolidated global creative duties for Secret deodorant with Wieden & Kennedy, giving the shop a substantial foothold beyond its Old Spice account and corporate Olympics work.

The move is part of P&G's broader agency consolidation effort, designed to cut $500 million annually from the company's budget for agency and production costs, said spokeswoman Tressie Rose.

"This will give us one agency that has a core expertise in our antiperspirant and deodorant business," Ms. Rose said. The move includes digital and other creative duties on Secret, but doesn't encompass media responsibilities as Wieden's longtime Old Spice assignment has included, Ms. Rose said. Starcom Mediavest Group continues to handle Secret media and Devries continues to handle public relations for the brand. Citizen handles PR on Old Spice.

Secret had $39 million in measured media spending last year vs. $35 million for Old Spice, according to Kantar Media, though both brands are heavy spenders in unmeasured digital and social media. The move, effective Dec. 1, doesn't affect Gillette deodorants, handled by WPP's Grey.

Overall, P&G has a nearly 36% share of the $2.8 billion U.S. deodorant market, according to Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank. P&G's share was flat for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 8 but down 1.2 percentage points for the latest 12 weeks.

"Leo Burnett remains an important P&G roster agency," Ms. Rose said, noting in particular the shop's work on Always, including substantial global creative awards for last year's work on the #LikeAGirl video.

The agency however has been losing ground at P&G in recent years, having ceded the Tampax account to sibling shop Publicis in 2013. And even for one of the major Always efforts last year -- the launch of Discreet adult incontinence products -- independent shop BoomAgers was lead agency. P&G also moved Herbal Essences from Leo Burnett to Wieden & Kennedy in 2013. A spokeswoman for Leo Burnett declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Wieden, the agency behind Old Spice's "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" effort and many other widely lauded creative efforts comes out smelling like a rose, expanding its footprint with a major conventional P&G brand for the first time since winning Old Spice nearly a decade ago.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Leo Burnett was involved with the "Touch a Pickle" campaign for Always in India. That campaign was handled by BBDO.

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