The ad account for Gillette, one of the world's billion-dollar brands, is up for grabs in the US. Owners Procter & Gamble have launched a review for the North American shaving, deodorant and body-wash business.
The business is currently with BBDO in America, whose predecessors have handled the account for more than 80 years. In the UK, AMV BBDO, who this week won agency of the year at Kinsale, handle Gillette , working closely with BBDO in New York.
When P&G bought Boston company Gillette seven years ago , the global ad spend on the brand was said to be $800 million.
P&G executives said the review won't extend outside North America -- for now.
"We're going to start first in North America," Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard told AdAge, "because that's where we really want to improve our advertising. And we'll see where it goes from there. It could eventually extend to global."
One of the leading contenders in the US will be Wieden & Kennedy, who have struck it rich with their Old Spice advertising.
BBDO and sibling digital shop Proximity will defend the account, said Pritchard. P&G roster holding companies from Publicis Groupe and WPP will also be in the battle .
Pritchard said he expects the review to take six months and "encompass sweeping strategic and spec creative pitches from the contestants."
In 2007 BBDO lost the Oral B business to a lineup of Publicis Groupe agencies headed by Publicis Worldwide.
In the US P&G spent $150 million on Gillette men's shaving and grooming products last year , according to Kantar Media.
Not in the review: some other BBDO shaving business with P&G, including billion-dollar brand Braun, the Venus women's brand and The Art of Shaving, "but Gillette is by far the biggest piece of the business in P&G's biggest market," said AdAge..
Gillette launches new men's razor systems about once every eight years - and a successor to Fusion in the U.S. might be expected by early 2014.
But Patrice Louvet, president-global grooming and shave care said, "We try to be a bit unpredictable, so I don't think the past necessarily forecasts the future on this one." He said he would like like to increase the pace of Gillette innovation.
BBDO has handled Gillette in America since 1966, when it bought the Clyne Maxon agency , who first won the business back in 1931.
BBDO is known for "The Best a Man Can Get," a slogan that first appeared in 1989".
Of Wieden and Kennedy, Pritchard said. "They work with us on various businesses, and they obviously have a track record outside the industry particularly with male-oriented products. ... We're really looking for some fresh thinking. Work has been good, but we're looking for great."