JWT has racked up a hat-trick of significant ad account wins on the sly recently – perhaps it’s time for that achievement to be more widely known.
One of them is the global Toni & Guy business. ‘Global’ might sound a tad hyperbolic, in view of T&G’s origins as a trendy London hair salon in the Swinging Sixties. But, hey, it’s a worldwide franchise now, big enough to sell its hair product business to Unilever for a cool $411m two years ago. Which is what we’re talking about here.
Then there’s the Kraft Euro haul. Kraft-owned Hollywood is France’s biggest chewing-gum brand. It’s a little-known fact that the French are the biggest consumers, per capita, of gum in the world – Americans excepted. Like the Coca-Cola habit, the French acquired it fairly recently, after rubbing shoulders with ‘visiting’ GIs during the Second World War.
Besides leading the chewing gum market in France, Hollywood is exported throughout Europe, to Africa, China, Madagascar, South America and Canada. Its factories are located in France and Denmark. Ironically, Kraft first acquired the Hollywood brand in 1961, but later sold it to Cadbury in 2000. It’s fair to say the high-margin Trident gum business, to which Hollywood is aligned, was one of Cadbury’s principal attractions as a bid target. Interestingly, Kraft has just opened a new SwF14m research and development centre at Eysins near Geneva, dedicated to gum and ‘candy’. And maybe just in the nick of time, because trouble is brewing for the $23bn industry, in Europe at least. The anti-social gumminess of the discarded product is causing serious concern – serious enough for the Spanish government to decree that manufacturers change the formula. Unfortunately, the new unsticky stuff is no less controversial: it contains all sorts of chemical nasties such as co-polymer acetate – more commonly associated with glues and emulsion paints.
Last, and most enigmatically, JWT seems to have scooped a very large chunk of Johnson & Johnson’s Western Europe consumer business – worth up to £300m my sources tell me. Enigmatically, because earlier this year Omnicom roster agencies BBDO and DDB were making all the running with J&J business wins. If rumour is to be believed, the JWT windfall will be dire news for J&J’s other roster agency, Lowe – it now retains little more than the femcare creative business in London. Scarcely a consoling thought for Lowe London’s new management buy-in team from DLKW, which itself has just lost the core £25m Halifax account.