By Cristina Merrill
NEW YORK--Gillette is considering moving Duracell's estimated $60 million media buying account to BBDO here in time for the upfront TV selling season, sources said.
Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, New York, is the incumbent. BBDO is the lead agency for Gillette, the shaving and grooming products company that acquired Duracell last fall.
The media move would represent a desire on the part of Gillette to consolidate buying at a single shop, according to sources.
Duracell representative Jill Fallon denied the move last week. 'BBDO has not been identified as our vendor for media buying,' she said. BBDO officials would not comment, and Ogilvy did not respond to inquiries.
Sources said Gillette could also be interested in consolidating creative duties for Duracell, which Ogilvy also handles, at a Gillette roster shop. It is unclear whether BBDO would inherit that business, although sources said the agency recently held discussions with Duracell executives about taking on that portion of the account.
One of the factors that could work in BBDO's favor is longtime Gillette executive Edward DeGraan, who now heads Duracell and is familiar with the agency's work.
As a result of the Duracell acquisition, DeGraan, formerly senior vice president of manufacturing and technical operations at Gillette, was made executive vice president of Gillette and given responsibility for Duracell. Located in Bethel, Conn., that group includes all Duracell technical and commercial operations in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe.
With 1996 sales of $2 billion and about half the U.S. alkaline battery market, Duracell is the leading marketer of high-performance batteries, followed by Energizer and Rayovac.
Gillette has several assignments at agencies other than BBDO. Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, for example, New York, handles Right Guard. Last month, Gillette assigned its estimated $15 million Oral-B Laboratories account to Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, which also handles Braun.
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