Ovaltine promotes health benefits as pitch looms

Ovaltine, the 101-year-old malt drink, is to re-establish its heritage as a nutritional drink following recent attempts to position the brand as an energy source.

Brand owner Twinings is in talks with several agencies to handle the campaign. The incumbent agency for Ovaltine is Fuel PR. The move follows the arrival of Elizabeth Edwards as marketing manager and the imminent appointment of a marketing director.

Ovaltine product manager Emma Marriott confirmed that Twinings, which is itself owned by Associated British Foods (ABF), has approached several PR agencies. She said that a brief was yet to be drawn up and it had not been decided what the focus of PR activity would be.

She added that Edwards, who was previously a Twinings marketing manager, is currently reviewing Ovaltine’s relationships with marcoms suppliers including Fuel PR.

Fuel MD Gillian Waddell said she was unaware of the review, adding that nutrition had long been part of the Ovaltine’s heritage. Fuel began working on Ovaltine in 2001, appointed by previous brand owner Novartis Consumer Health,with a remit to reposition it as an energy drink.

ABF bought the Ovaltine brand in October 2002 as part of the £171m acquisition of Novartis AG’s food and beverage business. Ovaltine was developed in 1904 as Ovo-Maltine – a fortified barley, powdered egg, malted-milk beverage.

The review follows a pitch last year for Twinings’ specialty teas, fruit and herbal range, iced teas and corporate PR that saw Fuel lose PR work to The Clinton Partnership.

Edwards was unavailable for comment as PRWeek went to press.

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