TBWA C/D, Hunt Split

TBWA Chiat/Day and Hunt-Wesson have ended their brief relationship. The Fullerton, Calif.-based client is starting a national search for a shop to take over most of the estimated $8-10 million in billings handled by the agency.
Kay Carpenter, the client’s manager of corporate communications, said the split was “mutually agreed.” Sources, however, said the relationship became shaky when TBWA C/D inherited Hunt-Wesson in its January takeover of sister Omnicom Group shop Ketchum Advertising’s San Francisco office. That move was followed by the departure of key Ketchum executives.
The split follows TBWA C/D’s unsuccessful defense of the client’s $20 million Orville Redenbacher popcorn account. The business was awarded to Euro RSCG Tatham in Chicago in April, following a review. Sources said the remaining Hunt-Wesson business was too small to keep TBWA C/D interested in retaining the client. The agency produced no new work since the Ketchum takeover.
Agency executives declined comment.
Pat Signorelli, director of media services, will oversee the search for Hunt-Wesson, which handles most of its media buying in-house. Hunt-Wesson will talk to roster agencies such as Houston Helm & Co. in Los Angeles and Berry-Brown Advertising in Dallas, as well as nonroster shops, said Carpenter.
The winner will handle creative on brands including Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Wesson Oil, Knott’s Berry Farm Food, said Carpenter. Responsibilities for some brands, such as La Choy Oriental Food Products, are moving in-house. –with Teresa Buyikian