Clorox Picks FCB and mcgarrybowen as Its New Agencies of Record After a Review

Household giant parts ways with DDB after 20 years

Clorox completed its four-month-long creative agency review on Tuesday by sending its global account to FCB and its specialty brands business to mcgarrybowen.

The two shops beat out Venables Bell & Partners and DDB as the client ended its relationship with the latter agency after 20 years. As part of the consolidation, the company will no longer work with Swirl, Critical Mass and Baldwin&, each of which handled separate aspects of Clorox's portfolio.

"Throughout the review process, there was a clear, shared ambition about what was possible for these brands," said FCB global CEO Carter Murray. "Clorox is a gem of a partner, and we are thrilled to now be working with them around the world."

Global chief creative officer Susan Credle added, "We toss words like team and collaboration around a lot in this business. This win is proof when we take these words to heart, the potential for amazing outcomes increases."

FCB will split the work between its Chicago and San Francisco offices while mcgarrybowen will be tasked with promoting Clorox's smaller brands including Burt's Bees, Hidden Valley, KC Masterpiece, Brita, Kingsford, Fresh Step and Scoop Away. The specialty work amounts to approximately 30 percent of the larger Clorox marketing business.

DDB brought in teams from offices as far afield as New Zealand and Toronto to work on the pitch but failed to retain the business. CEO Wendy Clark assured Adweek that the agency's San Francisco office, which opened in 1996 on the strength of the Clorox business, will remain in operation. "We have an unwavering commitment to our West Coast operations," she told Adweek's AgencySpy blog while indicating that this office would have new business announcements in the coming weeks.

According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the review was unrelated to Clorox's financial performance. It came about because Eric Reynolds, who was promoted to chief marketing officer in January 2015 after spending more than 12 years with the company, wanted to start afresh with a new agency lineup.

FCB was long considered a favorite to win the pitch due, in part, to the fact that it worked with Clorox for more than 70 years before being forced to drop the client in early 1996 due to a conflict created by its contract with competitor Johnson & Johnson.

In an all-staff internal memo, FCB's Murray described his response to the news as "grateful," calling the Clorox decision "a huge win for our agency."

According to Kantar Media, Clorox spent $269 million on measured media to promote its primary brands in North America in 2015. That total marked a slight decline from its $303 million spend in 2014.