Unilever to review £25m Bestfoods UK ad business

Unilever is to call a review of agencies working on Bestfoods brands, which include Ambrosia Custard and Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, once the Dutch food giant’s &£16.2bn takeover of the US food company is completed.

The &£25m Bestfoods UK accounts are split between HHCL & Partners and BMP DDB.

But HHCL could lose out if Unilever decides to consolidate the brands into other agencies on its own roster. BMP DDB is already on the Unilever roster and handles PG Tips for Van den Bergh Foods.

Mike Haines, senior press officer at Unilever, says: “If the deal is approved by shareholders, Unilever will take on the entire Bestfoods portfolio.

“It’s too early to talk about how the brands will fit together. But it’s a reasonable assumption that some form of agency review will take place as part of the integration process.”

HHCL handles Bestfoods’ Ambrosia and Pot Noodle accounts, worth about &£10m. The agency picked up the &£3.7m Ambrosia business after it was moved out of Delaney Lund Knox Warren in February.

BMP DDB handles accounts worth about &£15m, including Bovril, Knorr, Marmite and Napolina. It picked up the &£6m Hellmann’s account earlier this year from Delaney Lund Knox Warren.

HHCL is absent from the Unilever roster, which also includes AMV Advance, Lowe Lintas & Partners, Mother, Publicis, J Walter Thompson, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Ogilvy & Mather and McCann-Erickson.

Unilever says the Bestfoods deal will bolster its catering business and improve its North American distribution systems. It will also add to its existing food portfolio, which includes brands such as Batchelor’s Supernoodles, Chicken Tonight sauces, Colman’s Mustard, Flora and Oxo.

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