List Delayed in Unilever Pitch

NEW YORK Unilever’s plans to add a third and possibly fourth agency to the mix in a review of global creative duties on its Omo detergent line have been delayed, in part by the installation of a new executive for homecare, a company representative acknowledged.

Estimated billings on the business, which encompasses several regions outside the U.S., are $250 million.

Already competing for the business are the two incumbents: Interpublic Group’s Lowe and WPP Group’s JWT.

Keith Weed, former managing director of home and personal care for the U.K., was named group vp of homecare in March. But Weed didn’t start his new job until last month, and other Unilever executives didn’t want to pick any additional agencies without his input, the rep said.

The client is now expected to finalize its pitch list by next week.

The brand is marketed under different names in different regions. In the U.K. and Ireland, it’s called Persil, in other parts of Europe, it’s Skip, and in Latin America, it’s known as Ala.

Lowe handles Omo in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and South Africa and Skip in Europe, South Africa and Argentina, while JWT has Persil in the U.K, Omo in Chile and Ala in Argentina.

The review is being run out of the London office of Unilever and key decision-makers include Weed and David Arkwright, global brand director on Omo, the rep said.

The process, which is expected to be completed in September, is a broad-ranging look at how to manage Omo globally under a single strategic concept. The concept is summed up in the tagline, “Dirt is good,” which Lowe introduced in a campaign that broke about a year ago in Latin America and has since spread to Africa and the U.K. The Haystack Group, a London consultancy, is managing the review.