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Client Is Limited in Search for Conflict-Free Shop

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New YORK -- Having parted with McCann-Erickson because of a conflict, Reckitt-Benckiser is finding its options limited in placing its $300 million global account at a new agency.

Just about every agency network handles significant business for Reckitt competitors.

Sources said that two Omnicom networks and one Havas network have been eyeing the account.

Both BBDO and TBWA Worldwide (Omnicom) and Euro RSCG (Havas) are said to be eager to take on Reckitt's line of household and personal-care products, which include such brands as Lysol, Easy-Off, Mop & Glo, Spray 'n Wash, and Woolite.

Euro RSCG is unconflicted in the category and already has a toehold in the Reckitt business with New York-based Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG handling Reckitt's $12-15 million French's condiments account.

Within Havas, though, Arnold affiliates overseas have some Procter & Gamble business, and Arnold McGrath in New York handles P&G's Bounty, Zest, and Era, worth some $55 million in billings.

Grey Global Group, Publicis Groupe and Bcom3 are all global P&G networks, while WPP's Ogilvy & Mather and J. Walter Thompson handle Unilever globally, as does IPG's Lowe Lintas & Partners.

Sources estimate Omnicom's Henkel business (spread among BBDO, TBWA and DDB) at upward of $400 million. DDB has the biggest piece, with about $250 in billings, one source estimated, followed by TBWA at $200 million and BBDO at
$100 million.

Executives at the agencies declined comment. Omnicom executives could not be reached.

One observer said the London-based client could divide its account by region or by brand among two or more networks instead of moving the account in one piece.

A Reckitt representative declined comment. Reckitt and McCann parted company because of a perceived conflict with the S.C. Johnson & Son account at Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago.
-- with staff reports