Bimbo Bakeries Taps Black Lab

LOS ANGELES Independent agency Black Lab has won Bimbo Bakeries USA’s multibrand baked-goods account following a monthlong, closed review, an agency rep said last week.

The Venice, Calif.-based shop pitched an integrated-marketing approach to beat out Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding in Irvine, Calif., and independent O’Leary & Partners, also in Irvine. Straying from its standard procedure of employing multiple agencies for each brand and discipline, Bimbo Bakeries charged Black Lab with creating simultaneous advertising, PR, media, Web and promotional campaigns for the company’s four best-selling brands: Oroweat, Entenmann’s, Thomas and Francisco.

“We give you the whole package in one shot,” said agency co-president and chief creative Holland Henton. “It’s much more efficient for the client and ensures the messaging is the same across the board.”

Because the four brands fall into the same general category, one of the shop’s challenges will be to create obvious, brand-specific strategies. “We don’t want them to compete against one another, but there should be some consistency,” said agency president Paige Gillingwater. One way to achieve this, she added, is to create emotional connections between each brand and its particular consumers.

For its winning pitch, the shop focused on Francisco sourdough bread. Relying on Santa Monica, Calif.-based person-on-the-Promenade interviews instead of traditional focus groups, Henton said he observed that consumers tended to relate sourdough to “upscale restaurants and special events.

“We saw that there’s a connection between sourdough bread and special occasions,” he explained. “So if you can make every day a special occasion, you’re selling some bread.”

Although Gillingwater said that Bimbo Bakeries’ total campaign adspend “is not finalized,” she estimated it will reach $5 million. In 2003, the company’s adspend was $4 million, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. All four brand campaigns will launch before autumn this year.

Despite the recent low-carb trend, ACNielsen reported that combined annual bread and baked-goods sales at U.S. supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers has remained steady at $12.3 billion. And according to Henton, there is still plenty of room for growth. “The bread category is an untapped creative field,” he said.