Five agencies have made presentations to Cinnabon International in the hopes of winning advertising duties for an upcoming beverage launch.
The Atlanta-based franchise, a subsidiary of AFC Enterprises, has been without a lead agency for nearly a year.
Sources said the shops, which remain undisclosed, are all located in the Southeast.
The budget is undisclosed.
Ad spending for parent AFC, which owns Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, Church's Chicken and Seattle's Best Coffee, averages $30 million annually, according to CMR.
The Integer Group in Dallas resigned the specialty-food pro-vider's account early this year.
"Cinnabon needed to open up their account to project-to-project assignments for financial reasons," said Integer representative Matt Savage. "That didn't work for us."
Sources said the contenders, all small to midsize agencies, pitched a creative assignment that involves extending the range of the chain's iced-coffee drinks. The shops were asked to create names for two proposed new flavors—white chocolate and caramel.
Cinnabon currently sells one iced beverage—Mochalatta Chill.
The project does not involve media planning and buying. Creative will be limited to point-of-purchase materials.
"It's a great brand, but there's no paid media," said one source. "Whoever wins this is going to need a lot of mall and retail point-of-sale experience."
A decision is expected before Christmas.
The client, which established its bakery operation in Seattle in 1985, has seen its units increase by 40 percent since its 1998 acquisition by AFC.
Cinnabon operates bakeries in 42 states and 16 foreign markets. Retail outlets are traditionally located in shopping malls, train stations and airports. The company's system-wide sales in 2000 were $185 million.