Kimberly-Clark is looking beyond its agency roster to find a global shop to handle its estimated $30 million global feminine hygiene ad account.
George Ker, an advertising services executive at the $18 billion packaged goods company, sent out letters to several nonroster shops inviting them to participate in an "exploratory" review, said sources.
Last week, Ker confirmed that he had issued correspondence to agencies. He referred questions to the company's corporate offices in Dallas.
Ogilvy & Mather's Chicago and New York offices, which handle Kotex, New Freedom and other feminine hygiene brands in the U.S. and several regions abroad, have been invited to participate.
"We are currently reviewing several agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather," said KC representative Angie McCoy. "We're looking for an agency to handle the global account." The client will pick a winner by mid-1998, she said. Ogilvy had developed the brand's tagline, "Curved. Like your body. Kotex understands."
McCoy declined to reveal the identities of agencies that have been contacted. She also would not comment on whether the review includes KC's other U.S. roster shops. They are: Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, which handles Kleenex; Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, which has Depend adult care products; and J. Walter Thompson, New York, which handles Scott Paper.
The search does not impact Ogilvy's other assignments, McCoy said.
KC spent about $17 million to support the Kotex brand in 1996 in the U.S., and $135 million overall, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The company faces a challenge in the feminine care category from arch rival Procter & Gamble, which bought Tambrands--maker of Tampax tampons--earlier this year for $2 billion. P&G's Always is the No. 1 feminine hygiene brand in the category; Kotex is second, according to Information Resources. --with Jennifer Comiteau and Hank Kim