Kingsmill owner consolidates media into ZenithOptimedia

LONDON - Associated British Foods has centralised its media planning and buying into ZenithOptimedia, as it plans to increase its media budget by 50% to £20m next year to back a number of product launches.

The grocery to retail giant's media activities had previously been divisionalised and split between four agencies.

ZenithOptimedia won the business following a pitch against MediaCom and incumbents Mediaedge:cia, John Ayling & Associates and AMS Media Group.

ZenithOptimedia had previously held about £8.5m of the account, responsible for bread brands Kingsmill, Sunblest and Allinson, as well as the Ryvita ranges of rice cakes, snacks and crispbread. Other ABF brands include Twinings, Silver Spoon sugar, Ovaltine, Mazola oils, Ovaltine, Blue Dragon and Ken Hom stir-fry sauces.

It also has a number of retail interests, including the Primark chain.

In September its oriental food brand Blue Dragon revealed it is to make a £4m investment in TV ads from January to challenge Sharwood's market dominance.

In October ABF launched a low-fat Ryvita variant, Ryvita Minis, to cash in on the growing healthy snacks market, backed by a £4m TV campaign that featured the face of 'This Morning' presenter Fern Britton superimposed on to the body of a model.

At the ABF annual general meeting on December 10, chairman Martin Adamson said that in spite of volatile economic conditions, the company was soundly based for growth.

Group sales were up 5% to £5.2bn for the financial year ending 18 September. Operating profits increased 12% to £478m over the period.

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