Arun Sudhaman 17 Nov 2011 // 12:00AM GMT
BATTLE CREEK, MI--Weber Shandwick has been forced to resign from the Kellogg business, less than a month after winning the $4m account.
A Weber Shandwick representative confirmed that "a business issue arose in another part of our corporation that unfortunately made it impossible for us to work with Kellogg."
The Holmes Report understands that the conflict does not originate from any competing brands handled by Weber Shandwick, or indeed from any brands handled by Interpublic Group's stable of PR agencies, which includes GolinHarris and DeVries. Weber Shandwick works for numerous brands under Kraft Foods, General Mills and Nestle.
Instead, sources familiar with the situation told the Holmes Report that the conflict arose from a brand handled elsewhere in Interpublic Group. The firm had been carefully monitoring conflict concerns during its successful pitch for the business, which was first revealed by the Holmes Report earlier this year.
However, it is understood that the issue emerged at the end of last week, forcing Weber Shandwick and sister firm Current Lifestyle Marketing to stand down from the lucrative account. The split, said sources, has been amicable.
In a statement first reported by AdAge, Kellogg director of brand relations Brandy Ruff confirmed the development, and said that the cereal giant would now seek a new US agency partner. Before selecting Weber Shandwick, Kellogg worked with numerous firms, including Ketchum, Hunter PR and Ruder Finn.