Church’s Seeks New Creative Shop

Church’s Chicken has contacted agencies about handling creative duties on its esti-mated $15 million account, the client confirmed.

Publicis in Mid America’s Dallas office and Levenson & Hill, also in Dallas, have been invited to pitch the business, as has Atlanta’s BaylessCronin, which was tapped to “tweak” existing ads from incumbent Cliff Freeman and Partners with special-offers inserts [Adweek, June 12], said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for the Atlanta-based client.

Haley said New York-based Cliff Freeman and Partners would not defend. Agency executives could not be reached for comment.

The shop won the business in Au-gust 1999 following a review in which BaylessCronin took part [Adweek, Aug. 5]. Haley praised Cliff Freeman and Partners’ TV spots for Church’s, citing their winning Golden and Bronze Lions at Cannes. The campaign, still running in the Southeast, is tagged, “Church’s Chicken. What made from scratch should taste like.”

Haley said the parting centered on “philosophical creative differences,” but stressed that it was amicable.

He said agencies are being briefed, and the first round of strategic and spec creative pitches takes place in about a month. A decision is expected by October, Haley said.

Publicis handled the account in the late 1980s to early 1990s. Levenson then took over until Atlanta’s Austin Kelley Advertising won the business in 1997.