Updated: BBDO Regains Snickers as Mars Shifts Brands

NEW YORK Mars has confirmed shifting creative duties on key brands to ensure that each has a single agency in major markets.

Under the plan, Omnicom Group’s BBDO regains the U.S. Snickers duties that it lost to sister shop TBWA\Chiat\Day in 2006. The brand’s major media spending totaled nearly $28 million last year and exceeded $14 million in the first seven months of 2009, according to Nielsen.

In addition, BBDO will add duties in overseas markets on the Mars bar, which it handles elsewhere, including in the U.S., where it is marketed as Milky Way.

The Snickers loss is a blow to TBWA\C\D’s New York office, as the candy had become a significant creative platform.

At the same time, SapientNitro adds creative duties on Dove in markets now handled by TBWA.

TBWA, meanwhile, is gaining duties in non-U.S. markets such as Latin America on Whiskas, a brand it already handles domestically. (BBDO now handles Whiskas in Latin America.) TBWA retains its lead global agency status on Pedigree.

“We get outstanding support from our current agency partners, and there is existing cooperation between the agencies in the building of our Mars brands. However, fragmented agency support of our biggest brands across major markets limits efficiencies and opportunities to build global strategies that can be easily applied worldwide,” said Bruce McColl, global CMO of Mars, in a statement. “By aligning each core brand under a dedicated global agency, we will more effectively build global communication platforms that yield best-in-class strategy and creative work to build our iconic brands.”

The shifts, which take effect in January, will not impact Mars’ other major roster shop, Omnicom’s DDB, which remains lead agency on several Wrigley brands that Mars acquired last year. As part of the deal, Chicago-based Wrigley became a standalone subsidiary of Mars.

This story updates and replaces an item posted yesterday with client confirmation and additional details.