The company said it is in discussions with Hoffman/Lewis, Oakland, Calif., and S.F. shops Foote, Cone & Belding, Mandelbaum Mooney Ashley and Performance Communications, whose cofounder and creative director, Steve Rustad, developed videos and collateral aimed at Canned Foods' suppliers at his former shop Stephen Rustad & Associates.
The retailer said that Hal Riney & Partners/S.F. was also invited to pitch the account, but the agency declined.
In the past, Canned Foods has shied away from consumer advertising because of its sensitive relationship with suppliers, which include Procter & Gamble, Beatrice Foods and Del Monte. Under those agreements, Canned Foods cannot advertise brand names.
Its first consumer ad campaign will begin in a limited test market.
The privately-held company, based in Berkeley, Calif., operates 80 stores in six Western states. It does not release financial data, but sources estimate its sales total $200-300 million annually.
Typically, the goods it sells are discounted between 25% and 40% from grocery store prices and represent packaged foods, housewares, baked goods, health and beauty aids and pet supplies that have been discontinued, are factory seconds or have undergone packaging changes.
Canned Foods was scheduled to interview the last of the four firms Friday and is expected to make a selection by the end of the month.
The company has not yet determined what its initial advertising spending will be.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)