After being contacted by some 80 agencies, The Melting Pot Restaurants in Tampa, Fla., selected six semifinalists in the review for the creative portion of its $1.5-2 million advertising account.
Last week the client said it sent letters inviting the following shops to participate in a review: LevLane Advertising, Paradigm Communications and Peak Barr Petralia Biety, all Tampa; The Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla.; W.T. Quinn in Atlanta; Work in Richmond, Va.; and Associates Design in Northbrook, Ill.
Six shops were culled from about 80 that had submitted unsolicited credentials materials, said Brenda Marrero-Ayoub, director of marketing for the chain of fondue eateries.
Since Curtin & Pease/Peneco in Dunedin, Fla., resigned the business and the account went into review late last year [Adweek, Dec. 15, 1997], the restaurant chain has decided to work with an agency on a project basis.
"We have given some thought as to how we want to structure a relationship with an agency," said Marrero-Ayoub. "Because our business is very cyclical . . . we'll break our budget up into projects."
Although Marrero-Ayoub hopes to assign all Melting Pot ad projects to one agency, "A retainer-based relationship is not going to be the most effective way," she said. The new shop will handle creative and strategic development and research.
In addition, Marrero-Ayoub said Melting Pot licensees will likely handle media locally.
Will these decisions deter some of the would-be contenders? "It very well may," Marrero-Ayoub responded. "If anything that will be a good thing, because that will help us narrow down the list."
Each semifinalist will receive a request for proposal. Presentations for two or three finalists will take place in the next several weeks, with a decision expected in April.
Melting Pot has 40-plus locations around the country, with plans to develop 10 additional markets in the next two years.