Black Pencil Drawn to U.S. By Worthington

The review for Worthington Foods’ $10-15 million ad account gave The Leo Group a convenient opportunity to continue the global expansion of its Black Pencil subsidiary.
The full-service agency, named after founder Leo Burnett’s favorite writing utensil, has opened a Chicago office, its first in the U.S., to handle the Worthington brand.
Meat-substitute marketer Worthington, recently acquired by Kellogg Co., is one of two inaugural U.S. clients for Black Pencil–the other being Freudenberg Hausholtsproduckte, a German-based producer of floor-care products.
Launched in Europe in the early 1990s to pursue clients that conflicted with those on Burnett’s roster, Black Pencil now also operates in South America and the Asia/Pacific region. Expansion into the U.S. was hastened when Burnett landed Worthington, an account that was said to potentially conflict with Burnett’s National Cattleman’s Beef Association business.
“Worthington found itself intrigued with the ability to work with another brand in The Leo Group,” said Leo Group representative Wally Petersen. The move continues the group’s commitment to having several “separate and distinct agency brands” worldwide, he said.
Black Pencil gives The Leo Group another tool to pursue U.S. business, Petersen added. “With us in discussions about [newly formed holding company] BDM, we do recognize the need to be flexible as we move forward,” he said.
The agency will count on sister company Starcom Worldwide’s Starlink, a media services unit catering to small and midsized agencies, to aid with media chores.
Black Pencil’s U.S. operations will be overseen by Leo Group vice chairman Rainer Erfert, who also manages the agency’s other offices worldwide. Day-to-day concerns will be addressed by Al Roehl, Leo Group executive vice president for global operations.