Mischief PR in ice cream dispute with Frederick's following Ben & Jerry's win

Mischief PR has become embroiled in a bitter row with ice cream manufacturer Frederick's over the agency's work for rival brand Ben & Jerry's.

Ice cream dream: Frederick's stunt at Royal Ascot
Ice cream dream: Frederick's stunt at Royal Ascot

Mischief was brought in by Ben & Jerry's to handle consumer PR in late 2009.

Frederick's has claimed that the agency failed to disclose its work for Ben & Jerry's when the two parties met on 7 December and has stated that Mischief's behaviour is inc­onsistent with the PRCA professional charter.

But Mischief managing director Mitchell Kaye has hit back at the allegations, claiming the agency did not win the Ben & Jerry's brief until mid-December.

Frederick's creative director Matt O'Connor complained that he had ‘disclosed confidential outline brand PR and marketing plans for 2010', which he followed with a det­ailed brief by email containing campaign ideas.

He claims the agency failed to reveal it worked for rival firm Ben & Jerry's before being party to confidential inf­ormation about the firm.

‘At no time did you disclose that there was a conflict of interest with a major competitor, either prior to our meeting, or before the brief was submitted. We were only inf­ormed subsequently in an email which stated that you were declining to pitch, citing an undisclosed conflict of int­erest,' wrote O'Connor in a letter to Mischief on 26 March.

But Kaye disputed this version of events when contacted by PRWeek.

He said: ‘We pitched for Ben & Jerry's on 2 November and we won the business in mid-December. In that period, we were app­roached by Frederick's and met them for a chemistry session. By the time Frederick's asked us to pitch we had been hired by Ben & Jerry's and therefore declined their invitation.'

Kaye also questioned O'Connor's claim that Mischief refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), arguing that Frederick's did not provide an NDA to sign. He added that the agency has signed one retrospectively.

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