Aurora Foods Opens Lender’s Bagels to 6 Shops

Six shops will pitch for the $11 million Lender’s Bagels ad business next month as Aurora Foods has put its newest acquisition up for grabs.
Columbus, Ohio-based Aurora purchased the frozen and fresh bagel product line from Kellogg Co. in November. The acquisition was in keeping with Aurora’s strategy of buying undermarketed brands and attempting to revitalize them through increased exposure and new-product efforts.
Donald Hayes, Lender’s vice president and general manager, confirmed that Aurora roster shops Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago and Momentum in St. Louis (formerly Louis London) are involved in the review, along with four undisclosed shops from the Midwest, New York and Canada.
Under Kellogg, spending on Lender’s was $11 million in 1998, down 19 percent from 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Spending through the first nine months of 1999 was only $800,000, per CMR.
“The brand has lots of legs and opportunity,” Hayes said, but is “somewhat underdeveloped.”
He said Aurora plans to boost ad spending but would not disclose the new budget.
Lender’s is not seeking a “creative powerhouse,” Hayes said. The brand needs building, he said, but the company is “looking for the evolution rather than the revolution.”
Shops will pitch the first week of January. Hayes said he expects to make a decision by Jan. 31.
Kellogg’s roster shop J. Walter Thompson, New York, had been lead agency on Lender’s until the account was moved to The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., which never produced a campaign.
Lender’s is the leading store-sold bagel brand, with a 36 percent market share, according to the company. In the frozen and refrigerated segments, Lender’s dominates with a 77 percent and 69 percent share, respectively. In 1998, Lender’s reported sales of $207 million.