Old El Paso Moves Global Account to BBH, London

Saatchi & Saatchi Expected to Keep General Mills' Brand in U.S.

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Old El Paso has appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty London to produce the brand's first global campaign in its 74-year history.

BBH won the business after a final shoot-out against independent London agency 18 Feet and Rising. Fred & Farid Paris and The Collaborators, a specialist U.K. food agency also pitched for the account, along with Saatchi & Saatchi New York, which was previously the global lead creative agency.

Old El Paso, owned by General Mills, has instructed BBH to produce a campaign that will run primarily in Europe and Australia, two of its biggest regions outside the U.S. The brand has built a strong presence in Western Europe during the past 20 years, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the Nordic countries, and is the market leader for Mexican foods in most of these countries.

In the U.K., advertising has been handled by independent agency Work Club, which created a "Jubilicious Weekend" outdoor campaign to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June. Mexican food is growing in popularity in the U.K., where a chain of restaurants called Wahaca (a phonetic spelling of the Mexican state Oaxaca, known for its cuisine), offers "Mexican street food," has made the cuisine cool. Old El Paso has a strong supermarket presence across the country, and is viewed as a staple family meal.

Isabelle Moynier, international marketing director of Old El Paso, is based in Paris, where she was marketing director for General Mills France until this year. She said: "We want BBH to create a global positioning for the brand across the different markets. We believe it's a great, universal brand -- it's about having a fun, good time with people you love -- and there's no reason we can't communicate that on a global scale."

The account move means that Old El Paso stays within the Publicis Groupe network, which owns Saatchi & Saatchi, and recently bought the remaining 51% of BBH that it didn't already own.

In a statement, Ms. Moynier said, "We are delighted to embark on this new collaboration with BBH. Old El Paso is a unique brand. BBH will be a great partner to rally around Old El Paso and help us tap into its enormous untapped potential."

Old El Paso launched in 1938. The range has grown to include dinner kits, cooking sauces, salsas and dips, spice mixes, tortillas, rice and tacos. The General Mills stable of brands includes Green Giant, Yoplait, Pillsbury, Nature Valley and Haagen-Dazs.

Ms. Moynier declined to comment on what will happen in the U.S. market, but incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, is expected to keep the U.S. business.

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