Yakult, the probiotic drink brand, has parted company with Wieden & Kennedy after just 18 months. The move is part of a consolidation of the company’s advertising roster across Europe.
The agency won the account, which is worth about £5m, in June 2005. It took on a brief to relaunch the brand and has since created TV and print ads highlighting the health benefits of the drink.
The company is expected to increase its marketing budgets as it looks to move into new markets and attempts to increase its share in the growing probiotics market against rivals such as Danone’s Actimel range.
Yakult has been talking to agencies about its pan-European advertising since September, as revealed on marketingweek.co.uk. Originally, the UK account was unaffected, but the company has now decided to consolidate its advertising rather than use different agencies for different countries.
Yakult marketing director Alan Jelly says: “As Yakult increases its presence in more European markets and across the world, a decision has been taken to have a smaller roster of pan-European agencies delivering a more coherent European creative strategy rather than using individual agencies for every market.”
He adds that the relationship will finish at the end of April and a new appointment will be announced “in due course”.
In September last year, Yakult ditched cdp-travisully’s “friendly bacteria” campaign in favour of a more product-focused strategy. W&K’s current campaign highlights the fact that the product is more than 70 years old. The Japanese brand launched in the UK in 1996 and was one of the first products in the probiotic and dairy drinks market.