Rembrandt Looks Beyond Mother for Ideas

NEW YORK Johnson & Johnson has reached beyond Mother, lead creative agency on J&J’s Rembrandt oral care brand, to get ad ideas for a segment of the business, sources said.

Another J&J roster shop, WPP Group’s JWT in New York, is said to be developing concepts to present to client executives in the coming weeks. J&J also is considering ideas from Mother, an independent that landed lead duties on the brand in early 2006 after a review.

No other roster agencies, including Interpublic Group units Lowe, Deutsch and McCann Erickson and Omnicom Group shops DDB and BBDO, are believed to be participating in the drill, said sources.

Sources described the assignment as a project and as such, not something that would overturn Mother’s lead agency status. A more detailed description of the project, however, could not be ascertained.

Mother and WPP’s JWT declined to comment. A representative of the New Brunswick, N.J., client said, “We can’t comment on rumors or speculation,” adding, “Mother continues to be Rembrandt’s [lead] agency.”

J&J’s Rembrandt product line includes a toothpaste, tooth polish, tooth whitening strips, a mouthwash, a toothbrush and a breath freshener.

Major media spending on the brand exceeded $20 million in 2006 and totaled more than $23 million in the first 10 months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The bulk of 2006’s ad spend, about $14 million, supported Rembrandt tooth polish, followed by $3 million for dental products and more than $2 million for toothpaste. Last year’s total through October included nearly $10 million for toothpaste, about $7 million for dental products and almost $6 million for tooth polish, per Nielsen.

Besides Rembrandt, Mother handles K-Y for J&J. The New York shop added that assignment in the summer, after J&J reassigned nine brands. Other J&J business at JWT includes Listerine, Band-Aid and Reach.