Weber Shandwick bags United Biscuits account

Weber Shandwick has landed a six-figure account to handle global consumer and trade for United Biscuits.

The agency fought off Manning Selvage & Lee in a two-way scrap for the account from the biscuit giant's overseas arm United Biscuits International Sales (UBIS). It becomes the first agency to handle a global consumer and trade brief for United Biscuits.

The new brief will see Weber Shandwick establishing iconic brands such as McVitie's biscuits and laun-ching new products in emerging markets from Saudi Arabia to Sweden. The first focus will be on UBIS's flagship McVitie's brand, but may move on to Carr's Water Biscuits, Jacobs, Go Ahead and McCoy's crisps.

Despite being led from Weber Shandwick's London consumer division, the brief includes every country except the UK.

Publicasity has handled United Biscuits' UK trade relations account since January 2007, when it replaced eight-year incumbent with Cirkle Communications (PRWeek, 5 October 2006). Consumer is handled by a roster of agencies in the UK, including The Red Consultancy and Nexus Communications.

Weber Shandwick consumer director Emma Thompson is leading the account. She said: 'We will have to deal with the issue of different coun-tries' style of eating. In Sweden, biscuits are eaten with wine and cheese, while in Greece they are a health food.'

Key markets will include Greece, Italy, Spain and Lebanon. Additional projects in Australia, Canada and the US are expected in 2009.

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