Unilever Shifts Ragu to Ogilvy

NEW YORK Unilever has shifted U.S. creative duties on its Ragu sauce brand to WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather from sister shop JWT, Ogilvy confirmed. Ad spending is estimated at $15-20 million.

The shift occurred without a review and bolsters Ogilvy’s share of Unilever business. The agency’s New York office also handles Dove, Hellmann’s, Wish-Bone, Slim-Fast and Carb Options.

“Ragu is a great brand with terrific potential,” said Ogilvy North American co-CEO Bill Gray, in a statement. “It is especially rewarding for us to be given additional assignments based on our work for other Unilever brands.”

JWT’s New York office had handled the business. The shop, which could not immediately be reached, continues to work on other Unilever brands, such as Caress, Lever 2000 and Close-Up.

In the first eight months of 2005, major media spending on the brand was nearly $10 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Last year’s total was about $12 million and in 2003, it was close to $25 million, per Nielsen.