Heinz Taps Doner for Pet Foods

Although plans call for cat-food brands Kibbles ‘n Bits and 9 Lives to shift ownership next year, H.J. Heinz went ahead with a review that led to Doner winning the $10-15 million business.

The Southfield, Mich., shop bested Carmichael Lynch, Minnea polis, and Ele ment 79, Chi cago, for the account, a rep for Pittsburgh-based Heinz confirmed.

The brands had been at J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, but have been without an agency for the last year or so. Roth Associates, New York, was called in to oversee the review.

Heinz is unloading the brands. The deal calls for the brands to be spun off into a separate unit, then merged into San Francisco-based Del Monte, Heinz rep Robin Teets said. The brand team in place during the review is expected to go along with the trans fer, Teets said.

The review was undertaken because “as part of the deal, we owe it to the company that ends up with the brands to progress in a normal course of business,” Teets said. “These businesses are part of Heinz until the deal goes through.”

Doner also handles Petsmart stores and formerly handled the Iams and Eukanuba dog- and cat-food brands. Its experience with “reinvigorating mature brands,” specifically Mazda and Serta, played a role in the selection, Teets said.