Kimberly-Clark fires JWT from European toilet tissues

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LONDON -- One of Europe's longer running brand-agency relationships has come to an abrupt end. U.S. paper products marketer Kimberly-Clark has fired J. Walter Thompson without warning from the $15m pan-European Andrex/Scottex toilet tissue account. There was no pitch and the account has been handed to FCB. JWT continues to work for K-C in the U.S., Latin America and Asia.

In Europe FCB now adds toilet paper to facial tissue and kitchen towel brands it already handled for K-C: Andrex/Scottex, Kleenex and some national brands. Ogilvy & Mather remains on the K-C roster for personal care products such as Huggies disposable diapers and the Kotex and Camilla feminine hygiene brands.

JWT has worked on the Andrex account in the U.K. since 1956. In the early 1970s JWT created one of England's favorite advertising campaigns - a playful yellow labrador puppy that trails toilet paper through the house. The puppy has since been used in ad campaigns on Continental Europe and the U.S.

A K-C spokesperson declined to comment on why the account moved, except to say that it was awarded without a formal pitch. The spokesperson says the puppy will continue to be featured in advertising. Although the Andrex puppy rates highly in advertising recall surveys and has won a string of awards, the premium-priced toilet paper has lost market share, primarily to own-label brands. It still leads the U.K. market share at 25%, but that is after it's lost a third of the market since the early 1990s.

One explanation for the account move is a change in brand ownership. Kimberly-Clark merged with Scott Paper last December. JWT was told in April that it had survived a review, so this firing came as a shock.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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