ConAgra Poultry Co. heard presentations last week from four agencies chasing a branding project for the firm's Country Pride fresh chicken, the client said.
Sources close to the process estimated the initial budget at $1 million.
Bob Salegna, vice president of sales and marketing for ConAgra Poultry, confirmed the Duluth, Ga.-based firm was considering three Atlanta agencies and a fourth shop outside the market for "some project work . . . that could lead to bigger and better things." He declined to name the contenders. There is no incumbent on the account.
The three Atlanta shops pitching the business last Thursday and Friday, according to sources, were Fricks/Firestone, Pollak Levitt Chaiet and Tausche Henderson Drake. Agency executives either declined comment or could not be reached at press time.
Grey Advertising in New York handles advertising for Butterball brand fresh chicken, another ConAgra brand, Salegna said. It could not be determined whether Grey is the fourth agency in the Country Pride review.
ConAgra Poultry is part of multinational food producer ConAgra of Omaha, Neb. ConAgra claims $24 billion-plus in sales and more than 70 brands including Healthy Choice, Banquet, Hunt, Wesson and La Choy.
While ConAgra Poultry has devoted substantial ad funds to its Butterball brand, Country Pride has been neglected in recent years. The firm spent $6 million in 1997 on Butterball while earmarking less than $15,000 during that same period for Country Pride, per Competitive Media Reporting.
"We're just trying to re-establish Country Pride as a major player in the branded fresh chicken business," Salegna said. ConAgra Poultry also sells its products to fast-food restaurants like KFC and Churchs Chicken.
Salegna, who joined ConAgra Poultry eight months ago from Wampler Foods in Broadway, Va., said it is too early to say what media the project will involve. An agency decision is expected in the next two weeks.
--with Jim Osterman