Unilever is understood to have performed a U-turn by handing its &£15m pan-European Hellmann’s Mayonnaise business back to Lowe, just two months after seeking to shift the business into Ogilvy & Mather.
O&M was set to take over the brand – which it has worked on in North America since 2003, after winning the account from Lowe – at the beginning of this year (MW November 10, 2005). But it is understood a contractual wrangle has led to the company changing its mind and deciding to leave the business with Lowe.
The Hellmann’s Mayonnaise account is worth about &£6.5m in the UK. The most recent television ads for the brand feature a fat man and the strapline “You know the big dollop’s right”.
The news will come as a relief to Lowe London, which was left reeling by the return of founder Sir Frank Lowe to the industry in December. His start-up snatched the flagship &£45m Tesco creative account from Lowe London, as well as persuading chairman Paul Weinberger to join its ranks.
Unilever denies it was planning to move the Hellmann’s Mayonnaise account into O&M and says it will continue to work with Lowe. O&M refused to comment and no one at Lowe was available as Marketing Week went to press.