Baskin Likes It Cold but Not With D’Arcy

Baskin-Robbins USA has put its estimated $18 million advertising account in review.
The Glendale, Calif.-based ice cream store chain will invite a select group of national agencies that have offices in California to participate in the review, said company officials.
Incumbent D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Los Angeles, which has handled the account since 1993, has elected not to defend the business, according to Baskin-Robbin officials.
Baskin-Robbins executives said the review was called because of anticipated changes in the company’s marketing strategy.
“DMB&B has made numerous contributions to our business and their advertising support has contributed significantly to Baskin-Robbins’ steady sales growth over the past four years,” said Don Skeoch, vice president of marketing and concept leader. “The agency review is a result of operational and strategic changes in the way we plan to manage our business in the future, including a sharpened focus on regional and local marketing and strategic retailing.”
DMB&B executives could not be reached for comment at press time.
Baskin-Robbins spent nearly $16 million on advertising in 1996 and about $9 million during the first half of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The company has formed a short list of undisclosed shops. A committee of representatives from the marketing group of its parent firm, Allied Domecq Retailing USA, plus key Baskin-Robbins executives and delegates of the company’s franchisee leadership council will select the new agency.
A decision is set for November.
Last year, the company formed an alliance of Los Angeles-area promotion, design and other creative service firms to assist with nationwide promotion, merchandising and packaging. The agency search does not affect the alliance, company officials said.
–with Teresa Buyikian