Clorox Review Comes Down to VB&P, FCB and mcgarrybowen

By Patrick Coffee Comment

In December 2015 Clorox announced its first major creative review since 1996–and last night the company officially ended its relationship with DDB after nearly 20 years, eliminating the Omnicom agency from the ongoing review.

That leaves three shops competing for the client’s separate global and specialty accounts: FCB, Venables Bell & Partners and mcgarrybowen.

The business is significant: according to Kantar Media, Clorox spent $269MM on measured media in its main brand in 2015, and that total marked a slight decline from its $303MM spend in 2014.

Sources with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed that DDB got the call late last night after calling on staff from Vancouver to New Zealand to assist with the pitch. Clorox will be choosing two agencies of record, with one on the global brand assignment and one handling the specialty work that will most likely include the Burt’s Bees brand. The reason for this review, according to additional sources, had little or nothing to do with DDB’s performance. Eric Reynolds was promoted to EVP/CMO in January 2015 after spending several years in Clorox organization outposts around the world and serving as marketing director for its Glad and U.S. home care divisions, and we hear that he decided early in his tenure to choose a new agency lineup.

FCB is a strong favorite to win the global assignment, especially given that it worked with Clorox for more than 70 years before a conflict of interest created by its parent company True North Communications’ relationship with Johnson & Johnson forced it to drop the client.

A spokesperson for Venables told us today that the agency has not yet heard back regarding the review…which could be very good news for mcgarrybowen. FCB declined to comment.

The Clorox win allowed DDB to open its first San Francisco office in 1996, and this fact has led to some speculation regarding the future status of that outpost. DDB Worldwide CEO Wendy Clark, however, assures us that the Bay Area office will remain open.

Clark said today, “We have an unwavering commitment to our West Coast operations.” She also indicated that the agency’s SF office would be making new business announcements in the weeks to come.

A client spokesperson has repeatedly declined to comment on the review and did so again today. We hear that the official news regarding its conclusion will break next week.

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