Clarion bags Unilever Bestfoods UK account

Clarion Communications has beaten off competition from three other

agencies to scoop the entire trade PR portfolio for Unilever Bestfoods

UK.



The appointment means Clarion will represent a host of well-known brands

including Flora, Hellmann's, Chicken Tonight, Pot Noodle and

Marmite.



The six-figure account begins on 1 July and operates on an annual

rolling basis, adding to Clarion's client list, which includes Quaker,

GlaxoSmithKline and Warburton's.



The account is to be led by Clarion director Amanda Meyrick, reporting

to Helen Park, Unilever Bestfoods PR and sponsorship manager.



Unilever Bestfoods was formed in January this year following the merger

of Van den Bergh Foods and Bestfoods UK. The combined organisation has

annual sales approaching pounds 900m, and employs more than 3,000 people

at 16 locations across the UK.



Clarion managing director Gary Freemantle cited Clarion's experience in

dealing with newly merged brands - including household and cleaning

group Reckitt Benckiser (PRWeek, 8 December 2000) - as a factor in the

appointment.



'The key thing for us is to promote a unified company profile following

the merger,' Freemantle said.



The agency will seek to encourage brand loyalty from trade retailers and

in particular from independent vendors.



Educational and media relations also feature in the agency's plans.



Recent publicity for Unilever has centred on comments by the company's

co-chairman Niall FitzGerald, who has admitted that the firm has raised

prices across mainland Europe to pre-empt the introduction of the euro

at the start of next year.



Fitzgerald, chairman of the Britain in Europe lobbying group, claimed

manufacturers would only cause confusion by raising prices once the

currency enters circulation.



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