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Church's Wants to Hire Multicultural Marketer

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ATLANTA Church's Chicken is eyeing a handful of multicultural agencies to handle its $15 million general-market account, the client confirmed.

"We're in the preliminary stages of looking at agency resources," said Hala Moddelmog, president of the Atlanta-based fast-food franchise. "We're not just looking for one [agency] that understands food service or branding but really truly looking for a multicultural agency."

Moddelmog divided the chain's customers into one-third African American, one-third Hispanic and one-third Anglo. "Our general market is multicultural," she said.

She declined to say which agencies have been contacted, but independent shops may have an edge. "We're not looking for a large agency," Moddelmog said. "We'd like to be an important client to the group."

Moddelmog said Melinda Ennis-Roughton, named this week as Church's chief marketing officer (succeeding Ann Stone, who left the company earlier this year), will head the agency search.

Presentations will be held before the end of the year. Moddelmog did not know when a decision would be made.

Church's will continue to run ads created by Levenson & Hill in Dallas, the company's media buying shop. "It's product and retail message oriented and, frankly, it's been working quite well for us," said Moddelmog.

BaylessCronin in Atlanta, a unit of Omnicom's Merkley Newman Harty & Partners in New York, lost the account earlier this year, when creative and media-buying chores were reassigned to roster agencies.