$60 Mil. in Play at Sara Lee

CHICAGO Sara Lee will hear from three agencies hoping to land consolidated advertising duties on its Hillshire Farms and Sara Lee deli and bakery brands, a company representative confirmed. Spending on those product lines was just over $60 million last year.

Omnicom Group’s Element 79 in Chicago, the incumbent on the Hillshire Farms account, and Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in New York, which handles the deli brands, are contending for the account. Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., which handles Sara Lee’s Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Senseo brands, is also competing, according to the rep.

The move is part of a larger move on the Chicago company’s efforts to cut down its agency roster, the rep said. “As part of our overall strategy, we’re consolidating for our North American Food and Beverage brands,” he said. “The consolidation will make both the agency and Sara Lee more efficient.”

The move comes after the company last year hired Kim Feil as chief marketing officer for the unit. She will be the point person in the review, according to the rep, who would not give a timetable. He noted that the Hillshire Farms and deli brands were put up for review because of their current advertising cycle. He could not say when, or if, any other brands might come up for review.

Sara Lee last year spent over $25 million advertising its Hillshire Farms brand and nearly $35 million on its bakery and deli products, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Ad expenditures for the company’s entire food and beverage portfolio were just over $90 million, according to Nielsen.