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Client conflict sees Ogilvy & Mather resign Hershey's after 35 years

LONDON – Ogilvy & Mather New York has resigned the Hershey account after 35 years, following an apparent client conflict, believed to be Kraft Foods, and Arnold Worldwide has been selected to replace the WPP agency.

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O&M won the Kraft business in September 2004, taking over from sister agency Young & Rubicam in a move designed to cut costs.

However, the win put pressure on its tenure of the Hershey's account for which it handles Hershey's, Hershey Kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup brands in the US, among others.

In addition to O&M, Hershey's is also parting company with Omnicom-owned DDB New York, which handled some Hershey brands.

Kraft Foods owns confectionery brands such as Toblerone, Terry's, Milka, Cote d'Or, Marabou, Freia, Suchard, Bis and Shot.

Bill Gray, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather North America, said: "We have had a long and successful partnership with Hershey and have helped build some of its strongest and biggest brands. We are proud of our work, the longevity of our relationship and wish Hershey all the success in the marketplace."

Hershey is handing most of its business to Arnold Worldwide and expanding its relationship with North Castle Partners. The company said it has no plans to change its media agency, Omnicom Group's OMD.

However, speculation in the US has pointed to the Media Planning Group picking up the media account. MPG like Arnold is owned by French holding company Havas.

Hershey has appointed Arnold to create fully integrated advertising and marketing programmes for its core chocolate brands, which also include Take 5, York and Kit Kat.

Tom Hernquist, Hershey senior vice-president and president of its US confectionery division, said: "The changes we are implementing will help Hershey further build its brands and drive growth by connecting with consumers across a full range of touch points and media, including the internet, public relations, consumer promotions, and interactive communications."

In addition, North Castle Partners will provide fully integrated marketing for all of Hershey's refreshment and sugar confectionery brands, including Ice Breakers, Twizzlers and Jolly Rancher among others.

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