C-K Lands Winn-Dixie

Even though Bozell stepped in to help Cook Marketing Communications defend the Winn-Dixie Stores business, the client awarded its $40 million account to Cramer-Krasselt after a year-long review.

“It’s been too long,” said Winn-Dixie representative Mickey Clerc, “but we saw the presentations and made our decision.”

The Chicago-based shop used all its resources, including staffers from Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Milwaukee, to defeat 35-year incumbent Cook of Jacksonville, Fla.

The Bozell Group in New York assisted independent shop Cook during the pitch, which included personal appearances by Bo zell Group chairman and CEO Gene Bartley.

The visits triggered speculation that a Cook buyout was in the works, pending a successful review outcome. Sources close to Bozell suggested that deal is no longer a possibility.

Cook staffers, anticipating layoffs due to the loss of its main stay business, were contacting search firms last week.

Both C-K’s Chicago and Orlando offices will manage the business, said CEO Peter Krivkovich. Most account services will be based in Florida; Chicago will take media. Creative will be split.

Over the years, Cook helped guide the super market chain’s growth from $1 bil lion to more than $14 billion. None theless, the shop, caught off guard when the account went into review, was unable to hold on when new Winn-Dixie management, struggling to stem red ink and layoffs, “wanted someone new,” sources said.

Last spring, the chain confirmed it was closing 114 stores and cutting 11,000 jobs.