We Hear: JWT Eliminated From Global Kimberly-Clark Review as Ogilvy Hangs On

By Patrick Coffee Comment

Today Adweek broke the news that Kimberly-Clark, the personal-care monolith behind everything from Huggies to Kleenex to Kotex, launched a global creative review in early January.

That’s a big one for WPP, whose agencies have long handled the vast majority of the company’s marketing business in the U.S. and abroad. The lineup includes Ogilvy, JWT, VML, VSA Partners and probably a few more.

According to a spokesperson, the client is “assessing the current agency landscape for creative services,” which means it’s looking to restructure its international agency lineup.

This doesn’t necessarily mean consolidation with one network. Back in 2015, the company’s old CMO told AdAge that he would rather go for an “Uber-style” agency of choice model that sounds a lot like a jump ball pitch.

It’s not quite clear what K-C wants to do in terms of agency structure, but the company has already cut its spend with WPP over the past year-plus, so we have to believe it has savings on the brain like its chief rivals Unilever and P&G. One month ago, the company also announced plans to cut some 5,000 jobs and close factories around the world, attributing the move to a desire to be “leaner, stronger and faster.”

At this time we don’t know who, exactly, is pitching against Team WPP, because PRs at all the major holding groups declined to comment.

Multiple sources do tell us, however, that this review is especially critical for Ogilvy and JWT. And while the former remains in all-hands-on-deck defense mode with an international, multi-office pitch led by one Tham Khai Meng, JWT has already been eliminated—at least in the U.S.

The agency worked on Kleenex and various Family Care brands while Ogilvy had Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex, etc.

More to come on this review, which arrives at a particularly sensitive time for WPP after stock prices took their biggest dip in almost two decades yesterday.

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