Braun has become the latest Procter & Gamble Co brand to adopt a holding-company assignment, with longtime creative shop BBDO Worldwide to lead an all-Omnicom Group cast of marketing-services agencies, according to P&G.
It's the latest move, described by the company as a series of pilots, to tap a single agency point of contact to lead marketing-services shops for each of the many brands at an $80 billion global behemoth with reported ad spending of $7.9 billion.
But a P&G spokeswoman said the move doesn't mean all P&G brands will gravitate toward a single-holding-company model, with decisions up to each brand and at least two single-point assignments to date covering multiple holding companies and independents.
BBDO already had handled creative work for Braun, which has global sales exceeding $1 billion, both before and since it was acquired by P&G as part of the 2005 Gillette acquisition. Omnicom sibling Porter Novelli already handled public relations.
But the move brings additional global work to at least three Omnicom shops, including media specialist Davinci Selectwork (not to be confused with the WPP shop Da Vinci now handling all of Dell's communications needs) as well as shopper- and promotion-marketing shop Integer Group and a yet-to-be named digital shop.
Media buying is carved out of the assignment and will remain handled by Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group in the U.S.
The move at least somewhat allays concerns about BBDO's hold on P&G business after it lost Oral B to a mainly Publicis Groupe lineup led by Publicis Worldwide in April. It was the first brand BBDO had lost since joining P&G's roster via the Gillette acquisition.
Measured U.S. media spending on Braun was $21.4 million (compared with $77.5 million on Oral B) in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But Omnicom, at least, got some additional compensation when TBWA/Chiat/Day picked up creative duties on the Pur business from Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi in October, with measured 2006 spending of $22.1 million.
Braun appears to have stepped up spending this holiday season on a new campaign, described in a false-advertising lawsuit filed Dec. 17 by rival Philips as "an extraordinarily aggressive" effort of tens of millions of dollars behind the new Pulsonic shaver. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York hasn't held a hearing on Philips motion for an injunction against the ads as the category's crucial holiday season winds down, and P&G has yet to respond to the suit.
Shaking up the roster
Critical Mass, 50% owned by Omnicom, is on the P&G roster, handling one of the company's largest digital programs for Pampers. But the addition of Davinci to P&G's communications-planning lineup (succeeding SMG on Braun for North America) indicates that Omnicom isn't necessarily bound by prior roster strictures in filling out the lineup card. Publicis Groupe's Digitas had handled some project work for Braun, but it wasn't working on the brand, the spokeswoman said. Braun will continue to handle design in-house.
Braun joins Oral B and Pringles (led by WPP's Grey Worldwide) as the only billion-dollar global brands to have adopted one of P&G's single-point agency models. Smaller brands with pilots include Old Spice, headed by independent Wieden & Kennedy, and Eukanuba, headed by Integer.
Oral B moved to P&G's primary holding company, Publicis Groupe, after career P&G executive Charles Pierce, group president-global oral care and coffee/snacks, took over responsibility for the brand from former Gillette executive Bruce Cleverly. Braun's president, however, is a former Gillette executive (albeit a P&G alum before that), Bracken Darrell.
BBDO's most crucial P&G accounts, the Gillette and Venus blades, razors and deodorant businesses, are under career P&G executive Charles Bergh, group president-global personal care, to whom Mr. Darrell also reports.