BBH enters fray for Unilever detergent biz

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[London] Unilever has added one of its favored agencies, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, to its $280 million global detergent pitch. The agency, 49% owned by Publicis Groupe, will compete against the two incumbents, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Worldwide and WPP Group's JWT, for the Omo business, also known as Persil, Skip and Ala in different markets. Bartle Bogle already handles Surf detergent, and has steadily picked up Unilever work in the last two years. The agency won a significant chunk of business last year from Lowe, including Surf, the $100 million pan-European Flora margarine account, and Signal and Mentadent toothpaste. Unilever said in a statement, "A thorough survey of potential agencies has been completed. The review team has now examined the different agency options and configurations available and will now invite root and branch presentations from both incumbent agencies JWT and Lowe and from BBH."Executives close to the business said Unilever wanted to include Omnicom Group's TBWA, but the agency has a conflict with German cleaning products maker Henkel. The pitch is being run by The Haystack Group in London. Keith Weed, recently named group VP-home care for Unilever, will play a key role in the process, which is being overseen by Omo's global brand director, David Arkwright. A decision is expected this fall.
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