Compiled by Teresa Buyikian and Sloane Lucas
Hunt-Wesson (various brands)
Budget: $8-10 million
Decision date: late September
Incumbent: TBWA Chiat/Day, San Francisco
A turnaround chef's challenge: Sales of Hunt-Wesson's various Peter Pan peanut butter lines have been declining, and lag behind rivals Jif, Skippy and private-label brands. Knott's Berry Farm preserves appear no higher than seventh in their category, and their sales are also headed south. Wesson's cooking oils are slipping faster than Crisco and private label lines, according to Information Resources. Ad spending has been negligible since January. The client plans to increase its ad budgets, focusing primarily on Knott's, sources said.
The roster-only review, which began in June, was delayed by management turmoil at the ConAgra unit, which got a new president in July. Also, Joe Jimenez, president of the Orville Redenbacher-Swiss Miss division, assumed the role of president of the Wesson-Peter Pan subsidiary, replacing Ron Doornink, and now oversees all advertising. Director of advertising
services Pat Signorelli is leading this search. The Fullerton, Calif., client wants a traditional packaged-goods shop; TBWA C/D was not interested in keeping the business. Campbell Mithun Esty dropped out, citing conflicts.
C-K feels its strength lies in its work for Reddi-Whip and Cook's Ham. As both brands are sold through ConAgra units, the client is also familiar with its work (although Reddi-Whip is handled out of C-K's Milwaukee office). Senior vice president Tim Denison, who heads the Cook's business and would run Hunt in the event of a victory, is leading the pitch, along with executive vice president Don Brashears. C-K, which claims about $320 million in billings from its four offices, also handles ConAgra's Healthy Choice cereal and bread lines.
Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago
Tatham beat three West Coast shops in April for the estimated $20 million Orville Redenbacher, Swiss Miss and Snack Pack. That division's head, Joe Jimenez, is also president of the unit holding the review--likely a factor in Tatham's favor. Tatham, which at $450 million is the largest shop here, won that account with campaign ideas for Redenbacher's Double Feature popcorn line.
Houston Helm & Co., Los Angeles
The shop beat Campbell Mithun Esty, Berry Brown Advertising and TBWA C/D for Hunt's estimated $5-10 million Hunt Foods label task in March. The shop also handles the client's Rosarita Mexican Foods and Hunt brands through its Hispanic division, Houston Helm Bermudez Communications. Agency president Greg Helm will head up the pitch. The $20 million shop is the smallest in the contest and could use a financial boost--it has not yet replaced the estimated $11 million in billings it lost when senior healthcare coverage provider Secure Horizons put its account in review last May (the shop declined to defend).
Budget: $4-6 million
Decision Date: October
DiSaronno Amaretto leads its niche liqueur category via a core franchise of 35-49-year-old drinkers. Having acquired domestic marketing and sales rights for DiSaronno in July, Bacardi will double spending over the next year in a bid to gain relevance among trendier 25-34-year-olds, said Monsell Darville, group marketing manager at Bacardi-Martini USA. The client wants to tout DiSaronno's Italian heritage and turn the brand into an emblem of the bar scene.
The winning agency will not only have to charm Bacardi officials but also pass muster with the Reina family, which owns the DiSaronno trademark. The Reinas are keeping an eye on the pitch from their home in Saronno, Italy. "They appreciate the muscle we can bring to the brand," said Darville. The family is being consulted and may have some sway in the process. Bacardi is looking to develop a new print campaign in time for the holidays. "We feel that the DiSaronno brand has unbelievable potential," said Darville. "It's simply a matter of dusting it off."
Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York
APL, the largest shop in the review, already handles DiSaronno's media and wants to see the account consolidated. Its most persuasive argument: APL's "Bacardi by Night" campaign, which has sought to liberate the flagship rum from its vacation drink image. Just like for Bacardi, the goal is to inject DiSaronno into the bar scene. Group creative directors Marrcus Jaacson and Jonathan Mandell are leading the pitch.
DeVito/Verdi, New York
The smallest shop participating already has a relationship with Bacardi: it has been handling creative projects for new products and was invited based on that work, said Darville. Agency creative director Sal DeVito and associate creative director Rob Slossberg are leading the pitch.
McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C.
A "friend of a friend" recommended them to Bacardi officials, according to sources, but Darville said it was the agency's work for Audi and Royal Caribbean Cruises that got the only shop outside the Big Apple into the pitch. While liqueur and beer don't necessarily mix, the agency is hoping its ads for Pale Rider Ale (under the Miller Brewing aegis) demonstrate its ability to reach the right target.
Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York
The shop relied on old contacts to get into the pitch--creative director Kevin O'Neill worked on Bacardi during his Lintas days--and was added to the client's list last week. The shop currently has no alcoholic beverages on its roster, although it once handled both Heineken and Amstel Light.