Only one Southeastern shop has advanced in the review for Denny's advertising account.
Mullen in Winston-Salem, N.C., will face off against Bernstein-Rein in Kansas City, Mo.; Doner of Southfield, Mich.; and Publicis in Mid America's Dallas office for the general-market portion of the restaurant's advertising business.
Denny's general-market incumbent, WestWayne in Tampa, Fla., was eliminated in an earlier round.
The Spartanburg, S.C.-based division of Advantica Restaurant Group began a search in March to trim the roster of general-market and minority agencies that shared its $50 million account. The Rojek Cutcher Group in Cleveland is assisting the client with the review.
African American finalists are GlobalHue in Southfield, Mich., and E. Morris Communications of Chicago. Hispanic finalists are GlobalHue's San Antonio office, Lopez Negrete in Houston and cruz/kraveta: Ideas in Culver City, Calif.
Denny's previously worked with African American shop Chisholm-Mingo Group in New York and Hispanic specialist Publicis Sanchez & Levitan in Miami. Decisions are expected by the end of July.
Mullen has been on a new-business roll this year. Since January, the shop has secured the $12 million retail business of Nextel Communications and the consolidated account of Wachovia-First Union Bank, estimated at $60-75 million.
Mullen's scant restaurant background is said to be offset by its extensive retail experience.