St. Louis Fed Whiskas

DMB&B Shifts Additional Mars Work West
CHICAGO–In an apparent move to buttress its troubled St. Louis operation, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles has transferred creative duties for its $12 million Whiskas cat food account there from its New York office.
Whiskas is marketed by Kal Kan Foods of Vernon, Calif., a division of Mars Inc., one of DMB&B St. Louis’ largest remaining clients. The office handles Mars’ Twix, Skittles and Milky Way candies.
John Farrell, president of DMB&B/North America, said in a statement that the move was made following talks with Mars to “take advantage of the creative firepower, strategic thinking and media expertise of our St. Louis office, which consistently develops outstanding advertising for other Mars brands.”
An unstated reason may be that DMB&B St. Louis is sorely in need of new business. The agency recently laid off 10 percent of its staff, about 20 employees, due to the loss in July of its largest client, SBC Communications. The San Antonio, Texas-based telecommunications company, which represented about a quarter of the office’s billings, consolidated creative duties for its estimated $40-50 million consumer account at GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. A year earlier, DMB&B had lost SBC’s media account to GSD&M, causing it to shut down its media operation in St. Louis.
That has left the office with three major accounts: Mars, Coca-Cola and Trans World Airlines.
DMB&B St. Louis co-managing directors Gary Singer and Charlie Claggett were unavailable for comment at press time.
Kal Kan spent $12.6 million on the Whiskas brand last year, and $6.3 million through May of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.