Lactalis Group, the French cheese and dairy company, is understood to have appointed Carat to handle the £8m UK media planning and buying account for its cheese business and its joint venture operation with Nestlé Chilled Dairy.
It is thought that the agency won the business without a pitch. The Lactalis business was previously handled by Feather Brooksbank and Nestlé incumbent MindShare handled the joint venture business. It is not thought that either agency was involved.
The appointment comes as the company plans to ramp up its advertising spend. Lactalis, which includes the Président cheese brand, is boosting spend from £1m to £3m next year. The joint venture, which was formed with Nestlé at the end of 2005, is also increasing its spend from £3.5m to £5m.
Lactalis is understood to be keen to raise awareness of its brands across its portfolio and the Nestlé range, which includes the Ski and Munch Bunch ranges. It is looking into a range of activities including sponsorships and promotional activities.
Last month, it appointed Burkitt DDB to handle the £1.5m advertising account for its Emmental cheese brand, following a two-way pitch against Ogilvy & Mather.
The changes follow the appointment of Martin Rickenback to the new role of group marketing director for Lactalis McLelland, which includes the former Lactalis UK and Ireland operations and Glasgow-based cheesemaker A McLelland & Son.
Rickenback has taken over responsibility for developing brands such as Seriously and Galbani, as well as the overall marketing strategy for the UK group.
Rickenback has held a number of senior marketing roles in the food industry, including general manager of marketing for Premier Foods and marketing director for Unilever’s Knorr brand in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.