Miles Calcraft snatches £5m Benecol business

Carol Vorderman’s role as spokeswoman of the functional food Benecol brand is under review following the appointment of Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy to its &£5m advertising business.

Miles Calcraft picks up the business from Saatchi & Saatchi after a review by Benecol’s parent company McNeil Consumer Products. The review was handled by the AAR.

A spokeswoman for McNeil, which has the licence to market the “cholesterol-lowering” range of margarine and yogurts, confirmed Miles Calcraft’s appointment. She refused to say whether Vorderman was being axed and added: “She has been an excellent ambassador for the brand, and we are now working with Miles Calcraft to define a creative strategy.”

The review is understood to have been called as the company was unhappy with Saatchi’s creative work. Vorderman, who is best known as the assistant on Channel 4’s Countdown, has been the company’s spokeswoman since its launch in early 1999. The advertising has always focused on her explaining the health claims of the brand.

Benecol, which claims to reduce cholesterol levels by up to ten per cent if used daily, is also under increased pressure from Unilever which launched its rival brand, Flora Pro-Activ, late in 1999. Flora Pro-Activ launched an advertising campaign last year, by Lowe Lintas, which used Australian consumers in testimonial ads.

Miles Calcraft’s appointment is with immediate effect.

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