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Yogurt Becomes LevyTenny's First Course

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DALLAS TCBY has shifted its account from Stone Ward to LevyTenny, said Rich Levy, creative director at the New York startup.

Sources estimate the business of the Salt Lake City-based client will be worth $10-12 million.

The move followed the approval of TCBY's franchise association. The agency presented creative and strategy to the group last Friday in Scottsdale, Ariz.

It is the first client for the 2-month-old shop, started by Levy and president James Tenny, formerly a top executive at Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners. "We're happy because we're starting an agency with a large, recognizable, national brand," said Levy.

Television and radio work is due to break in early May, Levy said.

The effort will target 18- to 40-year-old women and moms, who are concerned about their health and the health of their children. "There are certain benefits that will speak to people who are concerned with fat in their diet. We will let them know that they can indulge themselves without tipping the scale in the wrong direction," said Paul Kershisnik, a 9-year Sprint PCS executive who joined as marketing director of TCBY a few weeks ago. Creative executions will "reinforce the fun [nature] of the brand and the product without harping on the obesity issue," he added.

Corporate executives had already approved of LevyTenny after an earlier round of creative and strategic presentations, which also included Stone Ward of Little Rock, Ark.

Frann Wolfe, senior vice president of marketing for TCBY parent Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, has said the client put its account into review because it wants to "reinvigorate the brand with a new vision and new way of looking at the business."

She said the franchise group wants to portray the brand as "contemporary, exciting and delivering the benefits our consumers originally came to us for." The new agency will be charged with helping to grow sales at existing stores and in new locations, she said.

Wolfe, who previously worked with LevyTenny co-founder Levy's wife, Beverly Stotz, said Levy got in touch in January when he opened the shop. The overture came just as TCBY began seeking a "potentially new agency alliance," Wolfe said.

Although Wolfe declined to comment on billings, TCBY is expected to increase its advertising expenditures from previous years. CMR does not report media spending for 2001 or 2002, but Stone Ward has handled the brand's in-store marketing and freestanding inserts.

Wolfe said TCBY, which uses "All of the pleasure, none of the guilt" as a tagline, intends to return to nationally broadcast spots in the future.

Stone Ward, formerly Stone & Ward, handled the yogurt chain's creative and media account for 12 years.