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Lowe Adds Knorr

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NEW YORK Lowe has expanded its relationship with Unilever -- its largest client -- by adding global assignments for its Knorr brand, the client confirmed. Sources estimated billings at $60 million.

The assignments arrive following a pitch for the launch of a new Knorr-branded product, which pitted Interpublic Group's Lowe in London against WPP Group's JWT and WPP-backed CHI & Partners, both in London, sources said. The product represents an innovation to the brand's traditional soup stock cube, according to sources.

The resolution of that pitch was not clear. Some sources expect Lowe to handle the launch, while others said that the client was still testing ideas from the different agencies. A client representative declined to comment.

Regional creative duties on Knorr remain split between JWT, which has business in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and Omnicom Group's DDB, which has business in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, a Unilever representative said.

In a statement, Unilever acknowledged that Lowe, a longtime roster shop that also handles ice cream, deodorant and oral care brands, would handle global projects but didn't specify what they would be.

"Unilever has asked Lowe to work on a number of projects for the Knorr global team, on the ... Knorr brand. Lowe has a strong record of delivering compelling creative solutions which drive revenue growth," said Silvia Lagnado, group vice president of savory products.

Lagnado added that JWT remains the "aligned agency for a large part of Knorr's global business which has seen strong growth and increased marketing investment in the recent past. DDB remains as the aligned agency for Knorr in North America, Africa and Australia/New Zealand."

Lowe will handle the new business at its offices in London and Madrid, where Fernando Vega Olmos -- the shop's worldwide creative director on Unilever -- is based. "We are delighted to add our thinking to such a globally important brand," said Lowe worldwide chairman Tony Wright, who is based in London.

Worldwide CEO Stephen Gatfield added that the win is a "testament to the business success that Unilever is enjoying on the brands that we're engaged with."