The Southland Corp.'s 7-Eleven convenience store chain has quietly shifted lead creative agency status on its estimated $25 million advertising account to The Richards Group, Dallas, and doled out television projects to Publicis/Bloom here.
The changes do not affect the client's media buying at Camelot Communications in Dallas, but they do mark the end of a nine-year relationship with J. Walter Thompson in Chicago.
7-Eleven public relations manager Margaret Chabris said the relationship with JWT was severed earlier this year, a move that has led to Richards' larger role.
A Richards representative confirmed the agency is at work on the chain's 1998 television, print and outdoor branding work.
Steve Price, co-chairman of Publicis/Bloom, would not comment on his shop's involvement.
"The Richards Group is our [creative] agency of record, but we will use multiple resources," Chabris said. Among those resources is Publicis/Bloom, which is preparing two TV spots that will debut Nov. 11. According to Chabris, the agency is developing a national ad promoting a new prepaid phone card product and a regional spot for a new breakfast item. The latter is currently slated for the Orlando, Fla., market only.
7-Eleven recently utilized DDB Needham here to develop a commercial in conjunction with Anheuser-Busch featuring Gus, Budweis-er's "born-on dating" character. Sources said DDB will do no further project work for 7-Eleven because McDonald's viewed it as a conflict.
7-Eleven has long utilized a multiple-agency setup mandated by Ito-Yokada Co., parent of Dallas-based Southland.
The chain's spending has ranged from $23-27 million the past two years, per Competitive Media Reporting. 7-Eleven spent $9 million on advertising through the first half of 1997.
Richards joined Southland's agency stable last November after beating out GSD&M, Austin, Texas, and DDB for a "Fresh Store"-themed initiative planned by the chain. At that time, Southland said JWT remained its lead agency.