Blattner Brunner Wins Knouse Foods

Knouse Foods will attempt to “contemporize” its venerable Musselman’s and Lucky Leaf applesauce brands as it ramps up marketing with the help of a new agency, said client director of marketing Bob Fisher.

Knouse last week tapped Blattner Brunner to handle its account, following a three-month review. One of the Pittsburgh shop’s tasks is to create a media plan, but sources estimated billings at $5-7 million. Fisher declined to discuss spending.

Knouse, a Peach Glen, Pa., agricultural cooperative, spent just $30,000 on ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

There was no incumbent. Fisher decided to launch a review soon after his January arrival from Hershey Foods, where he was vp of equity. “We needed to at least explore the benefits of advertising to see where we should be,” he said.

Musselman’s is No. 3 in a category dominated by Mott’s and private labels, which together grabbed about 70 percent of $380 million in sales for the year ending Aug. 10, according to Information Resources. Musselman’s and Lucky Leaf captured about 12 percent of sales for the same period.

Mott’s, owned by Cadbury Schweppes, was backed by $7 million in ad spending last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Quality and the products’ health benefits will likely be part of the shop’s work, to break as soon as early next year, CEO Michael Brunner said.

Finalists in the review were MARC, Pittsburgh; Neiman Group, Harrisburg, Pa.; Donovan Advertising, Lititz, Pa.; and LaRosa Isidore, New York, sources said.