Arun Sudhaman 31 Aug 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
BOSTON--Gillette’s first global PR review in a decade has been spurred by a “healthy dissatisfaction” with the status quo, according to the Procter & Gamble brand’s communications director.
Damon Jones’ eye-catching decision to put the $4m account up for review, first reported by AdAge, represents a considerable threat to 20-year incumbent Porter-Novelli, which will defend its business after losing Gillette’s female Venus line two years ago.
Earlier this year, the agency's campaign to launch Gillette's Fusion ProGlide razor won a North American SABRE in the Marketing to Men category.
“That’s obviously one of the possible outcomes,” responded Jones regarding the prospect of a new agency taking charge. “We’ve had a number of solid efforts under our belt, but I have a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo.”
“As we look at the business challenges of our competitors in a number of areas, we felt it was right to take a look and make sure we bring the right resources to the table.”
14-year P&G veteran Jones has spent two years in his current role as global communications director for the FMCG giant’s male grooming business. He confirmed that the company is looking outside its usual roster of agencies - which in the US includes MSLGroup, DeVries, Taylor and Marina Maher - for this review, because of the need to target men.
“I’m trying to approach this recognising that speaking to guys is somewhat different to the balance of our portfolio,” Jones told the Holmes Report. “This business uniquely speaks to him, but many of our other businesses uniquely speak to her.”
It is understood that two global networks and two mid-sized players are involved in the pitch alongside Porter-Novelli, although Jones would not disclose their identities. An international perspective is of particular importance, given that the work includes global strategy and North America execution.
“We’re certainly looking for people who can help bring perspective for developed markets, like the US and UK, as well as markets such as China and India,” he said.
Local market agencies outside of North America will remain unaffected by the review. These include Porter Novelli in China, Latin America and Europe; Weber Shandwick in India; Hill & Knowlton in the UK; and, Ketchum Pleon in Germany.
Jones said that Gilette had not had a review of this nature for at least the past “nine or ten years,” and would complete the exercise by mid-October.
“We are always asking how can we be better,” said Jones. “In the event that P-N retains the business, or if we move, we’ll come out with a stronger solution.”
Porter-Novelli has seen key global business in from HP and Qualcomm depart in recent years, and recently made layoffs at its New York and Chicago offices. Against this, it has won new accounts from the likes of Yahoo, Welch’s, McDonald’s and Hitachi GST, and is understood to be in the final round of a global review for spice giant McCormick.