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Reckitt Benckiser Conducts Digital Search

Assignment covers 3 healthcare brands

Reckitt Benckiser last year spent $84 million on Mucinex in media.

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Talk about a timely search. Amid the thick of cold season, Reckitt Benckiser is seeking an agency to create digital ads for three of its cough, cold and flu brands.

Sources identified the brands as Mucinex, Cepacol and Delsym. Revenue on the assignment is estimated at $1 million.

Reckitt has contacted agencies via search consultancy Ark Advisors in New York, according to sources.

Interested shops have replied to a request for proposals and await the next step: a cut to a half-dozen or so contenders that Reckitt executives will then meet, sources said. Based on those meetings, the marketer will narrow the field to a handful of finalists. Final presentations are slated for January.

Ark did not return calls and Reckitt, whose U.S. headquarters is in Parsippany, N.J., could not immediately be reached.

There's no incumbent per se because Reckitt previously doled out digital assignments on a project basis. So, the review represents a baby step toward having a lead digital agency—at least for the company's core cold brands.

Havas Worldwide (formerly Euro RSCG) is Reckitt's lead global agency. Reckitt consolidated the bulk of its business at the shop in 2006.

The company's brand portfolio extends into dish detergent (Calgon, Electrasol, Finish, Jet-Dry); skin care (Clearasil, Lanacane); air fresheners (Lysol, Air Wick); laundry care (Spray N Wash, Woolite); floor and oven cleaners (Mop & Glo, Easy-Off); and even condiments (French's mustard, Frank's Red Hot sauce).

In the U.S. alone last year, the company spent more than $350 million in media, down from more than $400 million in 2010, according to Nielsen. Media spending in the first half of 2012 totaled about $155 million. Those figures don't include online spending.

Collectively, Mucinex, Cepacol and Delsym last year spent more than $115 million in media, including $84 million on Mucinex, $24 million on Delsym and about $7 million on Cepacol, according to Nielsen. But again, those totals don't include online outlays.