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Sanitarium taketh away from Saatchi, giveth to Assignment

Changes in the marketing department at Sanitarium and a desire to find more cost effective ways of promoting the smaller brands in its stable appear to be behind a decision to give a significant chunk of the New Zealand business to Assignment Group and leave Saatchi & Saatchi with the company’s big brands. 

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Assignment Group, which has been pumping out the work recently, was already in charge of the Sanitarium master brand in New Zealand and launched a brand ad a few months back celebrating 100 years of business, but it will now also take care of some of the cereals (including Light ‘n Tasty, which Saatchi created a surreal campaign for recently, and Skippy Cornflakes), as well as most of the other products that aren’t big enough to have their own websites.

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Saatchi & Saatchi is thought to have retained responsibility for the big brands, Weet-bix and Marmite.

Sanitarium failed to return our calls, as did Assignment Group, but it seems the changes came about after marketing manager Martin Roper moved into a product development role with the company. The Australian comms guy then became New Zealand’s head of marketing, he looked at how to cut costs and, in what seems to be an increasingly common—and, for local agencies, frustrating—scenario, everything then had to get signed off in Australia.

In Australia, Assignment Group is also charge of the master brand and the smaller brands, while BWM is thought to have retained Weet-bix and Up-and-Go.

As seems to be the case with many FMCG brands, the word is that Sanitarium is hoping to find more cost-effective ways of promoting its smaller brands with specific advertising products, something akin to Food in a Minute or Family Health Diary. And as this marketing method continues to gain traction with clients, the big brand agencies are undoubtedly feeling the effects.

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