Gerber Feeds ’99 Direct Mail Work To C-E

C-E Communications has been tapped by Gerber Products Co., the country’s leading producer of baby food, to design and execute a direct mail campaign running through 1999.
Fremont, Mich.-based Gerber sends out more than 15 million pieces of mail annually to 3.5 million new mothers, starting when their children are born and continuing until they are 13 months old.
The account’s direct mail portion, worth an estimated $5-7 million, was previously handled by Noble & Associates in Chicago, which has been Gerber’s national creative agency since 1994. Western International Media in Chicago handles media buying.
While C-E’s new assignment is only set to continue through 1999, Lou Schultz, president and chief executive officer of C-E Communications, said he is not looking at it as a short-term project. “My hope is that it is a long-term assignment, and we’re going to do everything we can to earn [Gerber’s] ongoing trust and respect and support,” he said.
C-E has been working with Gerber on a consulting basis for the past several months, Schultz said. The agency’s first work for the client will debut before the end of the fourth quarter, he added.
C-E Communications is the sister agency of Campbell-Ewald Advertising, both in Warren, Mich. While together they have done a significant amount of advertising targeting mothers–including work for Whirlpool, Chevrolet Venture and Delta Faucets–this project marks their first foray into the baby food category, Schultz said. Tie-ins between those other accounts and Gerber are a possibility, but nothing is definite, Schultz said.
Gerber spent $11.4 million on advertising through the first six months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The company claims better than 65 percent of the nearly $1 billion U.S. baby food market. It last reviewed agencies in October 1996.