Earlier this week, Adweek reported that beauty giant CoverGirl had ended its 26-year relationship with Grey, picking Droga5 as its new creative agency partner after a review.
It’s true that Droga5 will be handling the business moving forward, but we’ve since learned that Grey resigned the account.
Representatives for Grey, Droga5 and CoverGirl’s parent company Coty declined to comment.
But sources close to the matter tell us that Grey officially resigned from all of the Coty brands it worked on (CoverGirl, Clairol, Wella, and various fragrances) on Monday Feb 13, just a couple of days before the Droga decision went public. At that point, the majority of the review had already been completed with Grey competing against Droga and other unnamed participants.
Last October, Coty acquired several key brands from P&G. Grey had been working on them for years under P&G and continued to do so. But according to our sources, the agency had significant disagreements with the company’s new leadership and also saw a potential opportunity arising with another major, unnamed beauty brand.
Coty is undeniably making big changes on most of its big brands. In a Q2 earnings call earlier this month, CEO Camillo Pane told investors that some of the key lines have not been performing as well as he hoped, and the company has responded by aiming to re-position them. We’re told that these revenue shortfalls and investor skepticism regarding the P&G integration increased the pressure to find new agency partners and sped up the process. In addition to CoverGirl, recent decisions saw Sally Hansen go to Anomaly and Rimmel/Bourjois go to BETC London. Coty has not yet picked a new agency to handle Max Factor.
Ultimately, the result is the same: the client launched a creative review that Grey seemed very likely to lose, and the agency opted to resign instead. We expect more news on this front soon.