Ayer’s Avon to D’Arcy

Client Prefers the Latter’s Global Network
NEW YORK–Avon Products is consolidating its estimated $65 million advertising account at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, effective July 1.
MacManus Group unit N.W. Ayer & Partners in New York has been Avon’s lead agency since 1994, but has worked with D’Arcy on the account since October. Ayer estimated the loss represents about $33 million in billings.
With 131 offices in 75 countries, D’Arcy can more effectively support Avon’s global vision, said Roy Bostock, chairman and CEO of MacManus. By contrast, Ayer has just four offices–two domestic and two overseas.
Ayer’s entire Avon team will be moving with the account from its lower Manhattan offices to D’Arcy in midtown, Bostock said.
“We are delighted, and I think it’s beneficial to both parties,” said Janice Spector, Avon’s senior director of global marketing. “This can help us take advantage of [D’Arcy’s] global network.” She said Avon will launch a new global ad campaign in the fourth quarter.
A MacManus source said the holding company approached Avon with the idea shortly after it finished transferring $100 million in Procter & Gamble ad business from Ayer to D’Arcy in March.
Ayer, whose largest clients are currently General Motors and Continental Airlines, has not won any new business this year and recently lost its Duncan Hines cake mix account, with billings of between $5-10 million, in another consolidation.
There are no plans to fold Ayer into D’Arcy, a McManus representative said. Instead, a source said the shop will pursue more business in the travel and tourism, home furnishings, financial services and high-tech categories. Ayer is also looking to acquire smaller shops with existing clients in these areas.
MacManus’ recent acquisition of a third agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group, takes effect in July.