Bakery-Cafe Chain Shifts to Mullen

BOSTON Slightly more than a year after placing its ad account with TBWA\Chiat\Day following a review, Panera Bread has shifted its advertising assignment to Mullen, the agency has confirmed.

The Interpublic Group shop in Wenham, Mass., was the runner-up in a contest 14 months ago. This time around, creative and media chores moved without a competition, an agency representative said.

Omnicom Group’s TBWA\C\D in San Francisco won the account in a June 2005 review led by New York consultancy AAR Partners. TBWA\C\D did some tactical in-store marketing for Panera, but did not produce any full-fledged ad campaigns. (Prior to TBWA\C\D, the account had been with independent Core in St. Louis.)

The Richmond Heights, Mo.-based company spent $3 million on ads last year and $2.5 million through the first five months of 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. At the time of last year’s review, sources said the company could spend up to $20 million in paid media this year.

Panera operates more than 900 stores in 35 states, mostly in the Midwest and Northeast. The chain of bakery-cafes specializes in freshly baked artisan bread.

Mullen’s related experience includes recent campaigns for the Grain Food Foundation, a trade association seeking to promote the health benefits of bread to combat the anti-carbohydrates movement.

The shop’s most recent association work broke last October with the tagline, “Bread. It’s essential.” One ad shows cold cuts near a slice of bread and the copy: “The human body needs carbohydrates. More importantly, a turkey club needs bread.” A second ad reads, “The health benefits of bread are remarkable. So are its abilities to keep peanut butter and jelly together.”

Separately, Mullen and TBWA\C\D’s Playa del Rey, Calif., office are competing this week in the final round of’s $170 million review. Independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., is also a finalist.