Masterfoods axes QBO in £3m review

Masterfoods UK, the Mars-owned firm behind brands as disparate as Whiskas catfood and Starburst sweets, has ditched QBO Bell Pottinger from its consumer roster. It will now carve up all its brand PR between its two other incumbent agencies, Jackie Cooper PR and Ketchum.

The decision is a blow to 11-year incumbent QBO, which will lose out on its share of the £2.5m-£3m Masterfoods spends per year on brand PR across its three divisions – confectionery, food and petfood.

Masterfoods external affairs director Michael Jenkins said the move was driven by a desire for 'efficiencies'.  He added: 'We wanted greater consistency... we wanted just two agencies and less category focus.'

Masterfoods' new PR line-up takes effect from January.

QBO has just launched Galaxy Promises to the trade press, with a consumer blitz impending. It also handles snacks such as Maltesers.

QBO said: 'Masterfoods has been reducing PR spend and we believe reducing its roster was the right decision.' It said it was in talks with 'a number' of companies in a similar field to Masterfoods about potential work.

Masterfoods said its PR spend fluctuated from year to year.

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