BBDO snags $100 million Oral-B acc't

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Gillette Co. shifted its $100 million global oral care advertising account to Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Gotham, New York.

The move was made without a review because of what Gillette executives call BBDO's extensive creative resources worldwide. It expands BBDO's already dominant position vis-a-vis the Boston-based consumer goods marketer's $600 million global advertising business. The agency handles RightGuard antiperspirant, the Mach3 shaving system, Venus for Women and Duracell batteries.

BBDO officially takes over the additional account, which includes Oral-B manual toothbrushes and children's toothpaste and Braun Oral-B power toothbrushes, in October. Executives at Gotham, which won the account last year, could not be reached at press time. The move was reported first on July 20.

Gillette VP-Communications Eric Kraus said the decision was not related to the company's ongoing review of vendor relationships, including those with ad agencies, announced last month by Gillette Chairman-CEO James Kilts as part of a cost-cutting program. But Mr. Kraus declined to comment on whether Gillette will ask BBDO to lower its fees. Allen Rosenshine, CEO of BBDO Worldwide, said the win was not based on the client "coming to us and asking for a change in compensation. Will there be discussions in the future now that we handle more of their business? I'm sure there will be. That would not be extraordinary. That would be expected."

BBDO already has media responsibilities for Oral-B, as it does for other Gillette brands. The agency has handled Gillette's North Atlantic Group since 1977. Interpublic's McCann-Erickson continues to manage the majority of Gillette's overseas business, including the flagship razor brand, outside the U.S. Interpublic's Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York, handled Oral-B before its shift to Gotham, and is still responsible for the Braun shavers and razors. But Lowe Lintas CEO Paul Hammersley said he is not concerned his firm may suffer a fate similar to Gotham's: "The general relationship with Braun is very good and I'd be surprised if this has any bearing on it."

In June, Mr. Kilts told analysts Gillette needed to boost marketing spending on disposable razors, the Duracell Copper Top battery and Oral-B toothbrushes. For the second quarter, Gillette's net income from continuing operations was down 22% to $232 million compared with the year-earlier period, on a 5% revenue decline to $2.1 billion.

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