Hanes is putting its marketing account into review, client sources said Wednesday.
The estimated $10-15 million business, now held by Mullen/LHC in Winston-Salem, N.C., will be opened to a competition restricted to roster shops serving Hanes parent company Sara Lee Corp. in Chicago.
"In the face of a challenging business environment, we are looking at our process and want to reassure that we have the best possible marketing team in place," said Peggy Carter, vice president of corporate affairs for Hanes, the underwear manufacturer in Winston-Salem. "Mullen/LHC will participate as a full partner."
Other sources said Hanes' executives, including CEO Paul Lustig, have been unhappy with Mullen/LHC's creative product "for a couple of years" and want more "bold and aggressive marketing."
Insisting the review is unrelated to the Lowe Group's forced merger of Mullen and Long Haymes Carr last January, Carter said, "The timing only has to do with us and our planning cycle. In fact, we think the merger is a positive."
In what also has been described as an unrelated move, Tim Ronan, Mullen/LHC's senior account manager for Hanes, is leaving to become director of development for Krispy Kreme, the donut company.