Unilever Puts $250 Million Omo Biz Up for Global Grabs

26 May 2005

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods gargantua Unilever has placed its estimated $250 million (€198.38m; £136.52m) global Omo detergent account in review, with just three networks batting for the business.

The triangular contest sees Interpublic-owned Lowe & Partners Worldwide slugging it out with WPP's JWT and London-headquartered independent Bartle Bogle Hegarty - in which Publicis Groupe has a 49% stake.

Lowe and JWT already handle regional segments of Omo business, while BBH is a Unilever roster shop whose portfolio includes detergent brands All, Surf and Axe body spray.

The trio was briefed last week and a protracted selection process is expected to run for "several month", phased across a series of "work sessions".

A Unilever spokesman describes the review as a "broad-ranging" investigation as how best the brand can be managed as a single strategic concept across different regions of the globe. Central to the review is the brand name itself.

Known as Skip throughout mainland Europe, Persil in the UK, Ala in Latin America and Omo elsewhere, Unilever is said to favour unification of the brand name.

The review is being coordinated from Unilever's London office under the aegis of new vice-president of homecare Keith Weed. Also involved in the selection process is Omo's global brand director David Arkwright. The decision will likely be known by September.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff