Dole Nears a Decision in Review

The packaged-goods division of Dole Food Co. has parted ways with its agency of more than five years, Mendelsohn/Zien, and is considering at least four shops here for creative and media on its $7 million account, sources said.

Those in the running for the business include Colby & Partners, Santa Monica, Calif., Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., and Ogilvy & Mather and Suissa Miller, both Los Angeles. Sources said representatives from the four shops met with Dole management at the client’s West Lake, Calif., headquarters on June 14 for presentations and that a decision is expected within the next week.

Plans call for a TV campaign to break early in the fourth quarter, sources said.

Representatives from Dole did not return calls seeking comment. Executives at the four agencies were either unavailable for comment or referred calls to the client.

Richard Zien, president of Men delsohn/Zien in Los Angeles, confirmed that Dole opted to move the account after a new marketing team was installed at the company. Zien described the client as a “wonderful group of people,” and said he was surprised by the decision to move the account.

“Everything was positive, and we felt we had made a significant contribution to their business,” said Zien. “We certainly respect their decision, and we wish them well, but we are very proud of the work we did for them.”

He added that the agency helped develop Dole Fruit Bowls, the first single-serve all-natural fruit snacks in a plastic cup. A formulation created by Dole enables retailers to keep the product on the shelf much longer than fresh fruit, Zien said.

The agency’s work for the product included a campaign aimed at mothers, featuring the themeline, “A jillion things kids can do with fruit bowls.” An effort to attract adults used the theme, “A well protected fruit.”

Although the company, which is more than 150 years old and had revenues of more than $4.5 billion last year, also offers an extensive assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, its consumer advertising is devotedly almost entirely to the packaged-goods line.

Aside from the fruit bowls, the packaged-goods line includes canned pineapple juice, Cinna Raisins, dates, easy-open fruit snacks, mandarin oranges, prunes, raisins, tropical fruit salad and Dole Fun Shapes.