A European Union for Mars

Article excerpt

The pioneering move by Mars to centralise all of its European advertising activity will be watched closely by the industry, writes Claire Murphy

Mars has always been at the forefront of European branding, as its masterly 1989 transformation of Marathon into Snickers proved. This move, unprecedented among FMCG producers, set the pan-European pace for others to follow.

Last week's news that Mars had created the role of head of European advertising sees the chocolate giant once again forging ahead in centralising its ad management.

Tom Jasinski, a former senior executive on the Mars business at advertising agency Bates, will take a pivotal role in the commissioning and co-ordinating of European campaigns for brands including Snickers, Bounty and M&M's.

Creative differences

His responsibilities are effectively culled from the jobs of the franchise managers, the name Mars gives to its European brand managers. The move represents a large step towards greater harmonisation of creative work.

Franchise managers were established by Mars four years ago. They were known as European 'brand guardians' and handled everything from advertising to new product development for one or two brands across Europe. They spent a great deal of time liaising between local marketers.

But over the past few months, in line with a general fall in the head count, many have disappeared.

The move is partly political. Jasinski was appointed by another former Bates director, Ken Rogers. Both men were involved in the Mars account and with the Mars brothers while at Bates.

Rogers was taken on by Mars after Bates was removed from the Mars roster last year, in the wake of the Maurice Saatchi debacle (Bates is owned by Saatchi & Saatchi's parent company Cordiant).

Observers point out how closely involved top Bates account managers were with the Mars business, both on the confectionery side and on Pedigree and Master Foods. …