McCann Teams With KBD For Little Caesars Pitch

McCann-Erickson’s Troy, Mich., office has joined forces with Kolon, Bittker & Desmond, also in Troy, to pitch the $40 million Little Caesars account.
The McCann/KBD tandem was added to the review following the withdrawal of finalist Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis. Mark Goldstein, Fallon president, integrated marketing, said the agency determined it needs to concentrate on work for existing clients.
Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, resigned the business last month [Adweek, Feb. 23]. The other finalists are Bozell Worldwide’s Southfield, Mich., office and Grey Advertising, New York.
The McCann/KBD alliance could be repeated in future reviews, said KBD president John Kolon. The two agencies would make a good team on retail accounts due to their complementary areas of expertise, said Gunnar Wilmot, managing director of the McCann office.
KBD has a strong retail background with such clients as Arbor Drugs and MedMax, and formerly handled some BMW dealer groups, Kolon said. McCann brings the “horsepower” of a large national agency, including its nationwide network of field offices.
“They can bring in New York and provide the consumer profiles and strategy development and do the media buying,” Kolon said. “We can come in and pull the strategy into the regions, into the co-ops and eventually right to the cash register, which any retailer wants to see.”
While early indications were that Bozell might have an edge because several of its executives previously held high-ranking marketing positions at Little Caesars, the other two finalists have connections of their own.
Kolon was an executive at Desmond & Associates, Little Caesars’ first ad agency, in the 1960s. Desmond, which held the account for about a dozen years, evolved into KBD. McCann recently was selected as the agency of record for the Detroit Red Wings and Second City Detroit, both of which are owned by Mike Ilitch. Ilitch also owns Little Caesars.
Grey Advertising, the other finalist, may have been invited to pitch partly due to relationships between agency executives and Stuart deGeus, Little Caesars’ senior director of field marketing, who was marketing director at Domino’s Pizza when Grey handled that account, sources said.
Both Grey and Bozell made their presentations last week, sources said. The McCann/KBD team is scheduled to present this Friday, with a decision expected by early April. –with Hank Ki