We Hear: S.C. Johnson Business Currently in Review

By Patrick Coffee 

sc johnson

Last Friday, Chicago Business Journal reported on some changes in the status of the very large S.C. Johnson business — primarily the fact that portions of it had “quietly” moved from Ogilvy Chicago to Energy BBDO in recent months.

This week, multiple sources claim that the general report is accurate, that the company has been sending more of its creative work to the BBDO side, and that an ongoing creative review could see more business changing hands.

Neither client nor agencies have officially responded to our requests for comment, but two things are clear: S.C. Johnson has yet to complete its first major agency review since breaking with FCB (then DraftFCB) in 2011 and Energy BBDO currently handles a larger share of the business than it did last year. This is what a company spokesperson told the Chicago publication:

“[The company is] going through a review exercise…it’s typical we would do this as contracts are up.”

The biggest unknown at the moment is how many brands, exactly, have moved from one agency to another.

Several brands under the S.C. Johnson umbrella including Raid, Ziploc and Saran Wrap definitely went to Energy BBDO this year, but the Business Journal story also names Shout, Pledge and Scrubbing Bubbles — and sources dispute the claim that those three are no longer with Ogilvy. The current status of others like Windex and Drano remains unclear as well.

Another development to note: the latest campaign that Ogilvy created for S.C. Johnson’s Glade was produced in New York, not Chicago. According to sources, this fact supports the Business Journal claim that “Ogilvy’s top New York-based lieutenants are said to be working furiously on the salvage job.” One source claims that Ogilvy New York staffers received a memo last week confirming that they would take the lead on the Glade work moving forward, but we’ve yet to see it if it does indeed exist.

We’ve also received no official comment regarding speculation that “BBDO New York could theoretically step in to handle some of the creative workload from the additional S.C. Johnson business,” though a source tells us that BBDO has no plans to assign the work to its New York-based creative team.

Finally, yet another source claims that more than two shops are involved in the ongoing review and that FCB may try to win business from its old client.

Updates as we receive them.