P&G Shops Line Up for Gillette Account

Relative newcomers take on roster veterans

Gillette’s North American advertising review is shaping up to be a battle of veteran Procter & Gamble shops against relative newbies.

Incumbent BBDO and challenger Wieden + Kennedy have only been on P&G’s creative roster since 2005. That year, the packaged goods giant hired Wieden to work on Eukanuba and Ivory and acquired Gillette for $57 billion. The acquisition placed BBDO on P&G’s roster.

In contrast, Grey and Saatchi & Saatchi—the other two contenders identified by sources—have worked for P&G since 1956 and 1921, respectively. Saatchi’s relationship traces back to the days of Garland Compton and Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, P&G shops that Saatchi acquired decades ago.

At stake in the Gillette review is lead creative responsibility in North America for the brand’s portfolio of products for men, including blades, razors, shaving cream, aftershave, deodorant and body wash.

Media spending on those products totaled nearly $125 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure doesn’t include online spending, however, and the assignment includes both digital and traditional advertising. The digital incumbent is Proximity, a unit of BBDO that also is defending.

From a holding company perspective, the pitch pits Omnicom Group (BBDO) against WPP Group (Grey), Publicis Groupe (Saatchi) and an independent (Wieden). The agencies referred calls to P&G, which, through a representative, only went so far as to say that BBDO would defend against Wieden and agencies from WPP and Publicis Groupe.

Each shop will present strategic and creative ideas, which P&G is expected to test. The process could take up to six months, and could be one of the most hotly contested pitches in years.