Atkins Gains Biggest Win

Captures H.E. Butt’s $7-8 Mil. Media Consolidation
DALLAS–H.E. Butt Grocery Co. of San Antonio concluded a lengthy media consolidation review last week by hiring hometown shop The Atkins Agency for the $7-8 million account of its 170-store supermarket chain.
The win is the largest one-year account ever won by the 36-year-old shop, said agency president Steve Atkins. The $35 million agency will begin its assignments in April.
“Basically, for us, this win validates somewhat the new direction that we have been moving towards the last 18 to 24 months,” said Atkins. “We’re really going to be aggressive on a multi-regional and national basis.”
Atkins was selected over at least five other contenders for the business, most of which were already on HEB’s roster for various creative and media duties. Runners-up included television creative shop The Richards Group and North Texas media partner Gugel Advertising, both Dallas, along with radio creative agency The Parker & Wood Association and media specialist Mann & Mann, both San Antonio.
Another contender, Anderson Advertising in San Antonio, failed to advance from earlier presentations. Both Mann and Gugel previously shared company-wide media duties with an internal HEB ad unit.
Not included in Atkins’ media duties are those for two company chains: HEB’s 82 Pantry Foods and three Central Market specialty stores, still handled by Gugel and Austin, Texas agency T3, respectively.
Besides capabilities and client ties, Atkins said the agency probably gained a foothold in the review with its consumer research department, “where we’re able to pinpoint very strategically with consumers’ lifestyles and behaviors.”
HEB executives held fast last week on their long-running silence about the review, but issued a brief statement from advertising group vice president Suzanne Allford. She said Atkins “really grasped what we are about and where we are trying to go with our media planning.”