3 Contend for Ball Park Brands

Three Sara Lee Corp. roster shops are vying for the $20-30 million Ball Park Brands ad account, sources said last week.

Incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners in New York was invited to participate in the review, but chose not to, one source said. Shop officials declined comment.

Looking to pick up Lowe’s hot dog business are Chicago shops DDB, Leo Burnett and Euro RSCG Tatham, according to sources. Pitches began last week and continue this week, with agencies asked for their strategic thinking on the brand, sources said.

Officials from contending agencies declined comment. A representative for Southfield, Mich.-based Ball Park could not be reached. A Sara Lee representative in Chicago was still checking on the review at press time.

All the competitors in the review have other Sara Lee businesses. DDB handles L’eggs products and Playtex apparel; Tatham does ad-vertising for Hillshire Farms and Kahn’s; and Burnett’s Starcom me-dia unit has Sara Lee’s consolidated U.S. broadcast and print-buying account. In addition, Burnett’s Lapiz Hispanic unit handles that segment’s advertising for Ball Park.

Spending on Ball Park last year broke down this way, according to Competitive Media Reporting: About $20 million was put behind Ball Park and Ball Park Lite hot dogs; another $12 million was spent on microwavable Ball Park singles.

Lowe’s most recent TV efforts for the brand have continued using the long-standing tagline, “They plump when you cook ’em.” In one spot, a family knocks on the door to a house, ex-plaining that it used to be their home. The homeowner lets them in and offers franks from a barbecue under way. The spot ends at a second house, where the family is using the same ploy to get invited in for hot dogs.

Previous spots, which aired be-tween 1997 and 1999, featured Mi-chael Jordan. One depicted summer scenes in which he says, “It’s not really summer until you eat a Ball Park frank.” Jordan is no longer connected with the brand.