Tone Brothers to Get BE&P Branding Treatment

Barkley Evergreen & Partners’ challenge on its newest account, spice marketer Tone Brothers, is to find a distinctive voice for each of the company’s brands, agency executives said.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of brand-planning work,” said Chris Brulatour, a senior vice president of account management at the Kansas City, Mo., agency. “It’s classic positioning work.”

The $10-20 million assignment includes strategic, creative, media, public relations and sales promotion duties on all of the company’s brands, which include Spice Islands, Durkee and French’s dry seasonings, said Andrew Martin, director of advertising for the Ankeny, Iowa-based client.

The company had employed several agencies on a project basis, Martin said.

Agencies pitching the account were given an assignment that encouraged the use of nontraditional media including sports marketing and interactive. Other contenders for the business were Valentine Radford in Kansas City and Minneapolis shops Clarity Coverdale Fury and Martin/Williams.

BE&P was chosen for its retail knowledge and experience in building national awareness for regional brands such as Blue Bunny ice cream, Martin said.

BE&P’s biggest marketing challenge, Brulatour said, will be to enhance individual brands while increasing the sales fortunes of Tone Brothers’ complete product line.

The strategy will likely focus on separate brands, rather than selling the entire spice category, he said. “We’re going to try to be as consumer relevant as possible,” he said.

The agency’s first work for Tone is expected in early 2003.

The account win offers the shop another opportunity to create more brand-image advertising, one of the stated goals of Brian Brooker when he took over as CEO in July.

Tone Brothers had minimal ad expenditures for its brands last year, according to CMR.