Zatarain's has put its estimated $8 million advertising account into review.
Interpublic Group's Mullen of Winston-Salem, N.C., will defend. Peter A. Mayer Advertising of New Orleans, WestWayne of Atlanta and undisclosed agencies are also contending, sources said.
Zatarain's, which is headquartered in Gretna, La., is not using a consultant. Agency presentations are scheduled for mid-December.
The company manufactures New Orleans-style spices, sauces, rice mixes and seasonings.
Sources said the review was the result of Zatarain's entry into the new frozen "bowls" product category, which it shares with numerous competitors including Uncle Ben's and Aurora Foods' Mrs. Paul's.
Zatarain's spent $5 million on advertising through August of this year, according to CMR. The company's media expenditures totaled $8 million last year.
Agencies are slated to present a creative campaign for a specific rice mix side dish, sources said, though the entire account is up for grabs.
Long Haymes Carr won the client's creative and media account in 1991. Mullen absorbed Zatarain's business when it merged with LHC last year.
"We've been helping grow the Zatarain's brand and business for more than 10 years," said shop president John Fitzgerald. "We are confident that we have the people and expertise to help continue to build their brand as we move forward."
Kupper Parker/Fitzgerald of Metairie, La., handles the client's collateral and freestanding inserts. Its business is not expected to be affected by the review.
The client could not be reached for comment.