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Merkley Wins Creative on All Detergent

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NEW YORK Merkley + Partners has landed creative duties on All detergent, a Sun Products brand formerly owned by Unilever.

Merkley, an Omnicom Group agency in New York, won the business after a review in which there were three other finalists, according to sources. The other agencies could not immediately be confirmed.

Account billings were not disclosed. In terms of major media spending, the brand spent nearly $10 million last year and about $20 million in the first half of 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures do not include online spending.

Reflecting on the hire, Kevin Keating, Sun's marketing director for All, Surf and Sun detergents, said: "We are looking forward to having a partner who is focused on helping us build brand strategy and succeed in the category."

The new agency succeeds Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which handled the business when it was part of Unilever.

Last year, Unilever sold North American laundry care brands such as All, Wisk and Snuggle to Vestar Capital Partners for $1.08 billion in cash.

Vestar, in turn, merged the business with another entity it owned -- Huish Detergents, a manufacturer of private label detergents and household cleaners. That deal resulted in the creation of Sun Products.

Sun's other's major brands -- Wisk and Snuggle -- are handled by Interpublic Group's Lowe in New York.

All becomes part of a packaged-goods portfolio at Merkley that also includes Pinnacle Foods (Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth's, Duncan Hines, Log Cabin) and Ferrero (Tic Tac, Nutella).

"We've shown a growing strength in consumer packaged goods with Ferrero, Pinnacle and now, Sun," said Merkley CEO Alex Gellert. "It represents a really strong discipline within the agency now."

Merkley's other clients include Mercedes-Benz USA, Arby's and Schering-Plough.

Separately, Sun is said to be in the final stages of a review of media duties across all its brands. Two finalists are awaiting a decision in that contest, according to sources. Further details on the process were not immediately available from Sun.