The four shops vying to succeed Mullen as Panera Bread’s lead creative agency vary in size, but they have one thing in common: none are in New York.
That’s by design because the St. Louis-based Panera expressed a desire to work with an agency outside of advertising’s largest market, as it did in the past. The Boston-based Mullen has worked on the brand since 2005. Also, most Panera cafes are outside of Manhattan.
Mullen is not defending. The sandwich chain’s media spending totaled $25 million last year, roughly the same as in 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.
AAR Partners, the New York consultancy managing the search, identified the contenders as GSD&M in Austin, Texas; Young & Rubicam in Chicago; Olson in Minneapolis; and Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. The shops emerged from a broader field of about eight agencies.
Panera executives briefed the finalists today and work sessions are planned for later in the month. Final presentations will take place in late March at Panera’s offices in Boston.
Panera’s media business is not in play and remains at Maxus in New York. Maxus landed that account in 2009 after a review. AAR Partners handled that search as well.