CHICAGO – J. Walter Thompson/Chicago’s win last week of the $50-million combined United Da" data-categories = "" data-popup = "" data-ads = "Yes" data-company = "[]" data-outstream = "yes" >

JWT Sees Renaissance In $50-Mil. Milk Win: DMB&B Vows to Fight On After Losing Key Account Held Nearly 20 Years By Jim Kir

CHICAGO – J. Walter Thompson/Chicago’s win last week of the $50-million combined United Da

Last Thursday’s three-hour pitch before a 20-member committee of dairy farmers and processors in a local hotel apparently cinched the deal for Thompson, in what one executive termed as an ‘extraordinary effort.’ Hours after Leo Burnett Co., the last agency to present, finished its pitch, the board gave the business to Thompson.
‘Thompson’s presentation was high energy and flawlessly presented,’ said Gordon McDonald, senior vp/advertising and marketing for UDIA. ‘They were very passionate and I think made a connection with the committee.’
Thompson takes over for D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles/Chicago, which had handled the UDIA business, and McCann-Erickson/S.F. which had handled the NDB business. Both agencies, which pitched the business, had little chance of retaining it, since it would have been politically difficult to choose between one of the incumbents. Also, since the UDIA staff is taking over the execution of the fluid milk program in Chicago, it was even more unlikely that San Francisco would have been the choice for an agency.
‘UDIA is the lead organization so we’d have to have had a specific reason to (have an agency) elsewhere,’ McDonald said.
The win is Thompson’s biggest by far in this city, and was the result of a full-court press by the Chicago office in order to win the business, according to insiders. The agency even went so far as to paint its conference room as a kitchen just for the credentials pitch early in the review.
‘It was the best team victory I’ve seen,’ said agency general manager J. Steve Davis. ‘There were no individual heroes. It’s really terrific to beat the caliber of Chicago agencies that were involved.’
The win takes some of the pressure off an agency that had been criticized in the past for not stepping up to the plate in new business. Davis refutes that notion saying the main task when he came to the agency in early 1991 was to concentrate on current clients and solidify those relationships before tackling new business.
The news was a major blow to D’Arcy, which is finding any way to keep its head up above water here. Credited for doing good work on the business for almost two decades, agency managing director Hoy McConnell conceded that it would have been almost impossible to win.
Although there had been speculation that D’Arcy may combine with its St. Louis office if it lost the business, McConnell said it isn’t going to happen.
‘We’ll obviously come out swinging,’ he said. ‘Our main focus is to become more aggressive in new business and try to replace the business.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)