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Venables Bell & Partners Wins 3M’s Global Creative Review

The company makes everything from adhesives to car care products.

The 3M Company has picked Adweek’s Breakthrough Agency of the Year Venables Bell & Partners after a review to handle creative work promoting its Consumer Business Group around the world.

The Minneapolis-based multinational conglomerate produces a wide range of products from adhesives and abrasives to car care and dental products. Its best-known brands include Post-It notes, Scotch tape and Nexcare bandages.

“After a thorough and comprehensive search with many great agencies, we have selected Venables Bell & Partners as the new creative agency for 3M’s consumer business,” said David Crist, vp of marketing at 3M’s consumer business group, in a statement. He added, “VB&P impressed us for many reasons including their proven track record of fueling iconic brands with their creativity and media agnostic approach.”

Grey New York had been 3M’s agency of record for more than 20 years before the review launched last November. At the time of the announcement, Crist called Grey “a valued partner,” citing “the rapidly changing global landscape” as reason for a re-examination of 3M’s agency resources in the U.S. and beyond.

“These are brands you know and love but may not associate with 3M,” said VB&P partner, managing director Kate Jeffers, framing the client’s lineup as “products you need in the moment.” Associate partner and creative director Lee Einhorn referred to Scotch-Brite as “the sponge everyone has in their house” and compared Scotch Tape’s market saturation to that of Kleenex, adding, “You use the term to describe any clear tape you buy.”

This very ubiquity, Jeffers said, leaves the VB&P team in San Francisco with “so much untapped potential to do innovative, impactful work to place those brands in the larger culture.”

Moving forward, the indie agency will lead 3M’s global marketing efforts in a role that may include regionally-focused projects similar to the work it has done for Reebok in China. VB&P’s teams have already begun working on the account with full, cross-platform campaigns set to debut at the end of Q2 or the beginning of Q3.

3M spent just under $35 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2015, according to Kantar Media. Totals in 2016 were slightly higher at $36 million for the first 11 months of the year.

This is VB&P’s second significant 2017 new business win; the agency beat out Wieden + Kennedy, GSD&M and others to become Chipotle’s creative AOR in January.