Helene Curtis Washes Out Saatchi: Global Conflicts With Procter & Gamble Assignments End 10-Year Relationship, Bring $80-Million Review

CHICAGO – Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising/N.Y., having gotten caught in an international client crossfire between mighty Procter & Gamble and global -minded Helene Curtis, is ending its 10-year relationship with Helene Curtis, putting an $80 million account in play.
The decision does not affect the Suave assignment, which remains at Bayer Bess Vanderwarker/Chicago. Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago also continues as agency for Helene Curtis’ professional products. However, the company’s expected desire to replace Saatchi with another global agency makes it unlikely those two agencies will get a shot at the business cut loose.
Helene Curtis on Friday said it is looking to hire a new agency to handle many of its consumer brands and that it already has narrowed the search to a few ‘creative powerhouses’ with which the company has relationships. Those agencies could include D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Bozell, said sources. DMB&B handles the client in Scandinavia, and Bozell Palmer Bonner handles in Canada.
The conflict between P&G and Helene Curtis under one Saatchi roof had become untenable as the Chicago-based consumer goods company stepped up international expansion, sources said.
Saatchi handles P&G in Europe and Asia, including such venerable brands as Head ‘N Shoulders and Vidal Sassoon hair care products. In the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, Saatchi had some $80 million worth of Helene Curtis hair care and personal care products including Finesse, Salon Selectives, Degree and Vibrance.
‘We were finding that their needs and the needs of our other clients were coming into conflict. We had to designate who our global hair care client would be,’ said Richard O’Brien, Saatchi & Saatchi vice chairman.
Added Richard W. Frank, Helene Curtis vice president, ‘As we and Saatchi & Saatchi continue to expand our businesses internationally, we are no longer able to accommodate each others global needs.’
Sources said a decision is due soon, possibly in early December. Other assignments are not affected.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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