Kao USA Seeks New Creative Agency

Kao USA is seeking a fresh start in 2014. The U.S. division of the Japan-based conglomerate is conducting a closed review for its global creative account for the following brands: John Frieda, Jergens, Biore and Curel.

Agency candidates have been invited and a decision is expected by May 2014, according to Joanne Davis of Joanne Davis Consulting/SCAN International, who is assisting in the review process.

This review does not affect other Kao USA agencies for media and digital.

Incumbent Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners (KBS+P) is not participating in this review. After 10 years with the agency, Kao executives are seeking a new direction for these beauty brands. "We are deeply grateful to KBS+P and their partnership for the past 10 years," says Dave Muenz, regional executive officer mass business, Kao. "We have had a good run and look forward to selecting a new agency partner."

This agency switch coincides with the implementation of a new Kao Group's business plan that reevaluates many of its business strategies. To that end, the company is seeking to place a higher importance on digital technology, expand its cosmetics business and emphasize value-added opportunities.

Kao Group spent around $130 million on ads in the U.S. in 2012, according to Kantar Media.

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