Still owned and controlled by its founding family, packaged foods giant Mars is one of the world's biggest private companies, with annual sales of around $35bn. It operates across three main sectors. It is perhaps best-known as one of the world's leading confectionery companies with brands including Snickers, M&Ms and Wrigley's gum. (see Mars Wrigley Confectionery). However the group's single biggest business is petcare. It is the global leader in petfoods with a huge collection of brands led by Whiskas and Pedigree. More recently it has expanded its footprint with acquisitions including premium European petfood brand Royal Canin and the Iams and Eukanuba brands in the Americas (but not Europe). The petfoods business is partnered by an extensive presence in pet healthcare. Mars has expanded its scientific pet nutrition unit Waltham into actual veterinary care through the acquisition of Banfield Pet Hospitals and VCA. Together these operate a network of over 2,000 vet practises and hospitals in North America and Euriope. Slightly smaller than its confectionery and petcare divisions is a small but powerful collection of consumer food brands. The most widely known is Uncle Ben's easy-cook prepared rice and culinary foods - the company invented the concept of branded rice in the 1940s. This is partnered by a selection of other products including Dolmio and Seeds of Change sauces globally and Masterfoods in Australia. Grant Reid is global CEO of Mars Inc. Divisional leaders include Poul Weihrach (president, petcare) and Fiona Dawson (president, food & nutrition). The group is wholly owned by members of the Mars family. Stephen Badger, son of Jacqueline Mars, succeeded his cousin Victoria Mars as company chairman in 2017.
Capsule checked 29th January 2019
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Adbrands Daily Update 26th Jun 2019: Mars appointed its first dedicated global chief strategy officer: Russell Stokes, formerly a senior manager at Whirlpool and before that at Boston Consulting Group. In a statement, the company said he "will be responsible for overseeing Mars' enterprise strategy, portfolio strategy and transformation agenda. In a time when disruption is to be expected, Stokes will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Mars continues innovating and transforming our business in the face of new and fast-paced competition, changing consumer trends and retail environment."
Adbrands Social Media 13th Jun 2019: "Bring It Back". Superb animation elevates this extraordinary film from AlmapBBDO for Mars-owned Pedigree dog food into a class of its own. The emotional dial is truly turned up to 11 throughout. As a result, cynics might find it all a bit over-wrought and overly symbolic, but even the hardest of hearts would find it hard to argue with the central argument. You can't always rely on humans, but nothing beats the unconditional love you get from a dog.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Nov 2018: Ads Of The Week: "The Season of Good Dog". And so it begins... Had you realised that Christmas is coming? We have been literally deluged since last Friday by Yuletide specials. Just two days into November and then the floodgates open, despite the fact there are still more than seven weeks to go. You'll find many more over on our Facebook page. The way to cut through all the seasonal dross is to do something different. This extended film for Pedigree dog food, a joint effort from Colenso BBDO in New Zealand and the BBDO New York mother ship, does just that. It features all the usual seasonal cheer stuff, but approaches it from a different angle and spices up the whole with some cool cinematic tricks. And there's no happy ending! ... Actually we're kidding, there is, but you might be getting a little worried about how this is all going to turn out at around the 1:30 mark. Anyway, what's not love about any ad with puppies?
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Oct 2018: Lavazza is trying to keep up with Nestle and JAB Holdings, the two global leaders in coffee, with acquisitions of its own. It has agreed to buy Mars Inc's Flavia and Klix coffee vending systems, used mostly in offices and other away-from-home settings. No price was disclosed but Reuters estimated a price tag of $650m, a little under twice annual revenues.
Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Aug 2018: WPP got a much-needed confidence boost from Mars, which has consolidated all global media with the group's Mediacom network. Previously, the global account had been split three ways with Mediacom responsible for planning, while Publicis-owned Starcom and Zenith and Omnicom's OMD handled buying in around three-quarters of local markets, including the US and China and much of Europe. Combined billings are worth around $1.8bn annually.
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