NEW YORK Kraft Foods has narrowed the focus in its review of creative chores on its Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand to three New York agencies, sources said.
Still in contention are independents mcgarrybowen and Nitro and WPP Group's JWT, said sources. Another round of presentations are taking place at the client's Northfield, Ill. headquarters this week. The shops are pitching out of their offices here; JWT in Toronto is the incumbent.
Two other shops that presented work in an earlier round -- Havas' Euro RSCG in New York and Interpublic Group's DraftFCB in Chicago -- were eliminated, according to sources.
The shops either declined to comment or could not be reached. And when asked about a cut, a Kraft representative said only, "We haven't made a final decision, but we're still on schedule to have an agency named by the end of summer."
Major media spending on the brand totaled more than $25 million last year and $12 million in the first five months of 2008, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
At the onset of the review, a Kraft rep said, "Kraft's growth strategy calls for innovation across the board," before adding, "We're looking for breakthrough ideas that motivate customers and help drive sales."
The creative jump ball comes a few months after Kraft shifted its natural cheese creative account from DraftFCB in Chicago to mcgarrybowen. Natural cheese spending was under $1 million last year, according to Nielsen.
Kraft has shifted several brand assignments in the past two years, as the company faces mounting pressure from Wall Street, commodity price increases and cost-conscious consumers.
This story corrects and updates an earlier item to note that JWT's office in Toronto, not New York, is the incumbent.