The confectionery giant confirmed that it has appointed Freud ahead of other rostered agencies including Hill & Knowlton, which has handled much of its consumer PR for the past three years, to launch and promote a range of undisclosed new products in the UK.
It is thought Freud’s fees from Nestlé – it has promoted beverage products, including Nescafé, for more than three years – could double from what is understood to be its current £500,000 to almost £1m.
Neither Nestlé Rowntree chief press officer Jayne Bassham nor Freud would confirm fees or the brands for which the agency would work, but it is understood that the bulk will be for new chocolate products.
Hill & Knowlton continues to operate on campaigns for Nestlé Rowntree’s Smarties and Yorkie brands. Fruit-flavoured Smarties, the first chocolate-free brand extension, are to launch shortly.
Nestlé Rowntree marketing director Sam Hunter, to whom Freud reports, was unavailable for comment this week.
Other PR agencies on Nestlé Rowntree’s roster, such as Ptarmigan Consultants, are unaffected by Freud’s appointment, Bassham said. She denied one report last week that suggested Freud founder Matthew Freud was providing personal media relations guidance to Nestlé Rowntree UK managing director Chris White.
White waded into controversy soon after being appointed last December, with national press reports quoting him as saying that Nestlé Rowntree was ‘in crisis’.
The company said the comments had been taken out of context.
In addition to Fruity Smarties, Nestlé Rowntree – the UK’s third-largest confectionery company after Cadbury and Mars – is also planning to launch two new variants of Double Cream: Double Chocolate and Double Berry.
Freud and Hill & Knowlton were hired by Nestlé Rowntree following a competitive pitch almost three years ago (PRWeek, 8 June 2001).