GSK shifts Ribena work out of Grey in strategy rethink

LONDON - GlaxoSmithKline is moving its £5m advertising business out of Grey London as part of a strategic review of the 68-year-old brand.

The company has been planning an overhaul of Ribena for several months. This includes a reformulation of the drink as GSK focuses on the healthy attributes of the product in light of the obesity debate.

The strategic rethink has resulted in Ribena's promotional spend being cut by about 50% this year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

It is understood that GSK has also been considering the future of the controversial lower-sugar Ribena Toothkind variant, with sources indicating that the name is likely to be axed next year. Soft-drink experts argue that not only has Toothkind cannibalised sales from the core Ribena product, but its name implies other items in the range are unhealthy.

A GSK spokeswoman refused to comment on the pitch, which is likely to include roster agencies Ogilvy & Mather, which handles the Lucozade Energy brand, and M&C Saatchi, which runs the Lucozade Sport account. Grey declined to comment.

Take-home volume sales of Ribena fell by 9% in 2003, according to ACNielsen.

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