P&G Shifts $200M Crest Creative to Publicis From Saatchi

Move Is Latest Step in Effort to Create Brand Agency Leaders

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. has shifted creative duties for its $200 million-plus Crest account in North America and Europe to Publicis Worldwide from Publicis Groupe sibling Saatchi & Saatchi in a move to consolidate all of its oral-care business with a single agency.

Much of the Crest account team from Saatchi will move to Publicis as part of the shift, which a P&G spokeswoman characterized as the latest step in a series of moves by the company to create single-point "brand agency leaders" to oversee brands' entire marketing efforts.

The system, which goes by the acronym BAL at P&G, has been piloted in various formats with a handful of brands, including Old Spice and Braun. BAL puts a single agency and executive in the lead in a sort of general-contractor role, though it doesn't always involve aligning all marketing services from a single agency or holding company.

Whether the model will become universally applied at P&G is still unclear, but this is the first expansion of the concept since Marc Pritchard succeeded Jim Stengel as global marketing officer, indicating that the idea remains alive post-transition.

The move with Crest does not affect other marketing services, some of which are handled by non-Publicis Groupe shops, the P&G spokeswoman said. It also doesn't affect the account in China, where Saatchi will continue to handle Crest, or in Latin America, where Publicis already handled the brand.

The move gives Publicis one of P&G's biggest-spending U.S. brands. Crest consistently ranks just behind Olay, which is with Saatchi, among the company's top media spenders.

The shift comes, ironically, after Saatchi earned one of its greatest P&G-related creative honors on Crest, a Gold Lion at Cannes last year for a wickedly funny ad featuring a man whose winning and perfect smile helps him charm kids whose playground he's about to bulldoze. That ad to date has run only in upstate New York and on video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

Crest has thrived under Saatchi since it moved there in 2002 in a roster shake-up precipitated by the closure of its former shop, D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York. Since then, it has become the leading U.S. oral-care brand and remained locked in a close battle for U.S. leadership in toothpaste with global oral-care leader Colgate.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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