Zenith Media has clawed back 5m of Mars brands from rival media buyers days after Maurice Saatchi was ousted from Zenith parent Saatchi & Saatchi plc.
The realignment is a signal that Mars’s year-long disagreement with Zenith over its winning of the 5m Terry’s Suchard business is now over. However, the decision appears to have been made before the crisis over Saatchi’s resignation reached its height this week.
The secretive brothers who control the confectionery giant, John and Forrest Mars, wrote to the Saatchi Group threatening to withdraw their business if Maurice Saatchi left the company. (see page 11). It is thought that the media buying business is contractually entirely separate from the creative accounts held by Saatchi advertising agencies.
Mars, which is notoriously sensitive to conflict, withdrew several confectionery accounts from Zenith after the Terry’s business win in October 1993.
It made this decision despite weeks of delicate negotiation by Zenith, and the moving of the Mars brands from Zenith’s Paddington headquarters into offices at Whitfield Street.
Neither Mars nor Zenith was available for comment at the time of going to press.
The brands include Snickers, which was shunted into MediaCom, and Milky Way, which remained at The Media Centre for 12 months after an international realignment that should have brought it to Zenith.
Zenith has suffered the effects of client conflict on a number of occasions. It resigned Heinz in 1989 after pressure from Mars.