Stone Ward Loses TCBY

DALLAS TCBY has fired Stone Ward and has asked LevyTenny to present creative and strategy to its franchise association Feb. 28, the client said.

Sources estimate the business will be worth $10-12 million.

Frann Wolfe, senior vice president of marketing for TCBY parent Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, said the client put its account into review because it wants to “reinvigorate the brand with a new vision and new way of looking at the business.”

She said the franchise group wants to portray the brand as “contemporary, exciting and delivering the benefits our consumers originally came to us for.” The future agency will be charged with helping to grow sales at existing stores and in new locations, she said.

The Salt Lake City-based client invited both Stone Ward and LevyTenny to present creative and strategy to corporate executives and members of the franchise association last week.

Wolfe said she previously worked with LevyTenny co-founder Rich Levy’s wife, Beverly Stotz, and said Levy got in touch in January when he opened the shop. The opening came just as TCBY began seeking a “potentially new agency alliance,” Wolfe said.

If the franchise association votes to hire LevyTenny on March 1, the TCBY account would be the first account win for New York shop.

Although Wolfe declined to comment on billings, TCBY is expected to increase its advertising expenditures from previous years. CMR does not report media spending for 2001 or 2002, but Stone Ward has handled the brand’s in-store marketing and freestanding inserts.

Wolfe said TCBY, which uses “All of the pleasure, none of the guilt” as a tagline, intends to return to nationally broadcast spots in the future.

Stone Ward, formerly Stone & Ward, handled the yogurt chain’s creative and media account for 12 years. TCBY was among the Little Rock, Ark.-based shop’s top five clients, according to agency president Millie Ward. Other key clients include Terminix and Meineke Car Care Center.

Ward said the shop could pick up additional work from Mrs. Fields Famous Brands. “We’re not dissolving our relationship with Mrs. Fields,” she said. Ward added, “We’ve just been so pleased to be part of this brand for 12 years and we’re proud of the brand,” she said. “It still has great brand awareness and we hope they continue to grow it.”