MARKETING MIX: PROFILE; Old dog, new tricks

Ben anderson * marketing director * kimberly-clark

Ben anderson * marketing director * kimberly-clark

Don’t worry. Ben Anderson insists the puppy’s safe in his hands.

Questions were raised about the wellbeing of the nation’s best-known

advertising icon earlier this year when Andrex reviewed its advertising

agency and sacked J Walter Thompson.

Hysterical headlines declared that the puppy could be put down after 24

years. But the 34-year-old marketing director insists losing the pup was

never on the agenda: ‘We’d never drop the puppy, it’s intrinsic to the


Anderson clearly relishes the responsibility for looking after Andrex,

Britain’s second biggest non-food brand (after Ariel).

‘I know it sounds a bit sad, but I love to be in supermarkets and see

people pick things up that I have had a hand in creating,’ he explains.

You get the feeling this man could enthuse about anything if he can wax

lyrical about toilet roll and his previous charges - Vanish stain

removers and Mini Jaffa Cakes.

His CV is not the sort you want to read if you’re feeling like an under

achiever. After gaining an economics degree at University College,

Cardiff he decided to apply for just one milkround job - at ICI - and

got it.

Five years later, after a period as product manager at Benckiser, he

started his first three-year stint on the Andrex brand. This period, in

which he launched Andrex Moist Toilet Tissue and developed the ‘Little

Boy’ ad, turned out to be a watershed in his career.

He left Scott at the end of 1992 as the company was being prepared for

sale, and moved to McVitie’s to work on Hob Nobs and Jaffa Cakes. Last

year he was approached by Kimberly-Clark’s head-hunters, who remembered

his work on Andrex, and asked to head marketing for the merged Kimberly

Clark/Scott operation.

Anderson had the task of cutting through the politics that surrounded

the merger, to bed down Scott’s flagship Andrex toilet-tissue brand as

well as manage Kleenex facial tissues. He joined Kimberly-Clark one week

before the merger became official in January this year, while Scott’s

Andrex marketing staff were only brought over to the new organisation at

the beginning of March.

In six months he had planned the relaunch of Andrex, co-ordinated the UK

end of the media and creative agency reviews, and supervised two brand

extensions on Kleenex tissues. He also oversaw the Kleenex toilet-tissue

and kitchen towel brands while their sale to Swedish group SCA was being


ACNielsen figures show that Andrex sales grew by 6.4% over the 12 months

to the end of August 1996 - not a bad achievement when you consider that

for the first half of that period the brand was being managed out of a

marketing department embroiled in ownership changes.

Ex-colleagues enthuse about his intelligence and strategic thinking, as

well as his place among the ranks of Genuinely Nice Blokes. ‘My wife

loves him to death,’ admits one, describing how Anderson sent female

members of his office home early one Friday after a particularly hard

week. ‘He comes over as so totally decent you wonder if he can be

sincere. But he is.’

He must be a Genuinely Nice Bloke to concede to the Marketing

photographer’s request to be pictured with a cuddly toy puppy - an

unusual image for a classically trained marketer who came to the

industry after studying economics.

‘I chose to study economics because I like the idea of being

analytical, of knowing what is going to happen because you’ve worked out

the likely effects.’

He denies being a control freak, but says he is willing to take risks

when required. He cites the 1991 ‘Little Boy’ ad, in which a small boy

watches the Andrex puppy run off with the toilet paper, as one

situation which tested his nerve.

‘I know it looks quite innocuous now, but at the time it could have

been controversial. No one had shown someone on the toilet with their

trousers round their ankles before.’

Both Andrex and Anderson appear to be on a bit of a roll at the moment,

with the marketing tie-up between the brand and this Christmas’s top

film, 101 Dalmatians.

But the challenge for the year ahead will be to combat own-label rivals

and work with FCB to develop a new campaign for the brand. And yes, the

puppy will be in it.




1984-1987 Strategic projects planning manager, Dulux, ICI Paints Division

1987-1989 Product manager, Finish and Vanish, Benckiser

1989-1992 Andrex group product manager, Scott

1992-1995 Marketing manager, McVitie’s

1996-the present Marketing director, household products, Kimberly-Clark



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