NEW YORK -- Saatchi & Saatchi is expected to pick up creative duties on Whirlpool's KitchenAid after a review involving other, undisclosed agencies, sources said. Billings are estimated at $30 million.
The household-appliance marketer was a 20-year client of New York shop Ayer, which parent company Bcom3 folded into the Kaplan Thaler Group in April. (At the time, Ayer had a staff of 50 and just a handful of clients, including Continental Airlines.) The transition did not go smoothly, according to sources, and the client was dissatisfied with its new home.
The company reached out to several shops, including Saatchi. Mau-rice Levy, CEO of Saatchi parent Publicis Groupe, was a key player in the agency's effort, sources said, along with Saatchi worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts.
The account team at Kaplan Thaler in New York is expected to follow the business to Saatchi.
The New York shop's experience with packaged-goods clients, including Procter & Gamble and General Mills, along with the breadth of its marketing services, appealed to KitchenAid executives, according to sources.
Saatchi referred calls to a KitchenAid representative, who did not return calls on Friday.
Since Publicis is on the verge of acquiring Bcom3 in a $3 billion stock and securities deal, Saatchi's win enables the holding company to keep the billings in the family. The Bcom3 deal is expected to close next month.
The KitchenAid win comes a few weeks after Saatchi landed $40-60 million in additional General Mills business outside the U.S.
Saatchi sister shop Publicis & Hal Riney in Chicago handles Whirlpool. Media duties for both Whirlpool and KitchenAid remain at Publicis' Optimedia in New York.
Whirlpool, based in Benton Harbor, Mich., markets about a dozen appliances under the KitchenAid brand, including refrigerators, washers and dryers, ovens, dishwashers, mixers, toasters and blenders.