Heinz Marketing Chief Quits After UK Adspend Freeze

04 August 2005

The first casualty of H J Heinz' decision to suspend all UK advertising in the wake of its acquisition of rival H P Foods [WAMN: 21-Jul-05] is Scott Garrett, the company's UK vice-president of brands, who quit this week with no other job in the offing.

Exactly what prompted his abrupt exit is a matter of conjecture, although the recent arrival from a westerly direction of axe-wielding Jane Miller, the new UK ceo, is not unconnected with Garrett's departure.

Piecing together a scenario from insider leaks, it seems that Garrett and Miller were not in accord as to the relative merits of brand advertising and trade discounts - inseparable Siamese twins according to fmcg holy writ and those who are familiar with the UK supermarket scene.

According to a Heinz mole, Miller imagines "she can buy the shelf space with trade discounts, but in the UK the Heinz brand is a key asset, and needs to be supported across its portfolio".

Garrett, presumably, pointed out to Miller the fallibility of her beliefs - not usually a recommended course of action with hired guns from corporate HQ.

Meantime, Heinz' fifty-strong UK marketing team is sweating it out on the sidelines while the company declines all comment on its future marketing plans.

Lips are also tightly zipped at Heinz' two key agencies, Leo Burnett and media shop Vizeum, both of whom have received retainer payments in lieu of suspended adspend.

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff