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10 Agencies Vie for French's $12-15 Mil. Business

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Ten agencies are expected to return RFPs this Thursday for French's mustard and other condiment brands owned by Reckitt Benckiser.

Among the shops vying for the estimated $12-15 million account are Berlin, Cameron & Partners; Fallon; Jordan McGrath Case & Partners; Merkley Newman Harty & Partners; Kir shen baum Bond & Partners; and TBWA\Chiat\Day, all in New York, sources said. A cut to six will follow; final pitches are slated for early November, sources said.

According to sources, the Wayne, N.J.-based client prefers agencies with packaged-goods experience and an integrated approach, which could encompass creative, strategic, interactive and public relations duties. Though initially it was thought that media, which is handled by Media Planning in New York, was not in review, the RFP asks agencies for their media capabilities, sources said.

Kate Shevak, vp of marketing for French's food products, is steering the process with the help of search consultant Roth Associates.

Reckitt Benckiser launched the review last month [Adweek, July 30] when five-year incumbent Warwick Baker O'Neill in New York closed its doors.

The latest commercial from Warwick, which broke in April for French's new Honey Mustard brand, features smiling families and couples enjoying mustard-laden turkey sand wiches, vegetables and pretzels. The spot used the sig nature tag line, "Smile. You've got French's," which sources said will most likely be scrapped.

Other brands in play include French's potato sticks, French fried onions, Worcestershire sauce, and Frank's RedHot sauce.