M&C Tries to Get Back on Mars in Twix Review

Seeking to reclaim its lost foothold with confectionary giant M&M Mars, Maurice Saatchi is trying to get his shop into the roster-only review for the company’s Twix brand, now at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis, sources said.
D’Arcy and Mars shops Grey Advertising and BBDO, both New York, have been asked by the Hackettstown, N.J.-based client to present ideas on a unified global strategy for the brand. Meetings are set for mid-February. “We want to open [Twix advertising] to a broader set of ideas,” a Mars representative said.
Merkley Newman Harty in New York is also a Mars roster shop but has not been invited to pitch this business, sources said.
Mars spent $15 million on Twix in the U.S. last year, with global spending pegged by sources at $50 million.
While M&C Saatchi was not asked to participate in the Twix review, sources said Saatchi is calling on his global marketing contacts at Mars to get his shop back in good graces. M&C Saatchi last December lost its Mars Whiska’s cat food account overseas to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London.
The scenario may not be entirely bleak for D’Arcy, which has entrenched support at the company, sources said.
“Some of the old-line Mars executives are very faithful to D’Arcy,” one source said. “The newer marketing folks, however, think [the shop] can do better.”
D’Arcy is expected to use resources in both St. Louis and New York to defend the business. The St. Louis office also handles Milky Way and Whiska’s (U.S.) brands.
The Twix review is a bit of a surprise as it comes only months after Mars completed a summer-long review among its roster shops. The effort did not result in any major brand category changes.
Twix trails Hershey’s Kit Kat in the chocolate-covered wafer category, according to figures from Information Resources.
D’Arcy launched a new campaign a year ago with the tagline “Smarter than the average cookie,” which marked a return to a focus on the candy’s cookie base.
For two years prior to that, the tagline had been, “Two for me, none for you.” K