Country Kitchen Taps Finalists

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–Carlson Hospitality Worldwide has narrowed the search for an agency to promote its Country Kitchen restaurant chain to five shops. Presentations are set for the first week of July.

Minneapolis-based Carlson invited all interested agencies to a review in May and received replies from about 55 shops, said Doug Anderson, vice president of marketing for the 260-unit Country Kitchen chain.

The incumbent, TVRP Creative in Kansas City, Mo., is planning to participate in the pitch.

Other agencies still being considered are MMG Worldwide, Kansas City, and Minneapolis shops Peterson Milla Hooks, Bozell and Kerker & Associates, Anderson said.

The review covers creative work only. Media buying and planning are handled on a regional basis, he said.

Country Kitchen spent less than $1 million on advertising in 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting. But that figure could be increased if the winning agency can come up with creative work that encourages franchisees to fund more marketing, Anderson said.

‘I’m looking for an agency that can break through the creative clutter,’ Anderson said.

Creative strategy also is a key factor in the decision, as the chain needs ‘unconventional methods (for) getting our message out,’ he said.

The chain of full-service, family restaurants offers nearly 100 menu items and employs a country decor. The restaurants include retail shops that sell a wide array of items, from rocking chairs to candy.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

SCROLL Midwest