DDB Keeps Morningstar Foods

Suiza Foods has retained DDB to handle its Morningstar Foods brands following a review of agencies.

The client confirmed discussions were held with three agencies in addition to incumbent DDB in Dallas. The othercontenders were Young & Rubicam in San Francisco, The Launch Partnership (a division of Temerlin McClain) in Irving, Texas, and The Richards Group of Dallas.

“We were really looking at finding a full, long-term partner providing everything from A to Z with the growth that we’re experiencing,” said Toby Purdy, senior vice president of marketing for the Morningstar Foods division.

The confirmation of DDB comes as the client plans to increase both its advertising budget and the number of brands it currently markets.

“Our whole strategy is to become more value added and branded, which means more business for [DDB],” said Purdy.

DDB will handle the early- August national launch of a Hershey line of milks and shakes, which will be followed by the introduction of a Jakada brand of Folgers coffee. The latter is a line of chilled coffee beverages “in real cool packaging in three flavors,” said Purdy. “We’re beginning to license more products and will be doing a lot of cool advertising and grass-roots marketing.”

Morningstar, the national brands division of Dallas-based Suiza, currently markets dairy and egg products such as International Delight creamers and Second Nature egg substitute. Total annual billings for those two brands are estimated at $6-10 million.

The 7-year-old Suiza, which got its start with the purchase of a single Puerto Rican dairy, has since grown into one of the largest producers of milk and dairy products in the U.S. Another division of the company supplies private label and regional brands that are sold to grocery and food-service customers.

The company’s current bid to purchase rival Dean Foods has yet to receive federal approval.

DDB began working with the Morningstar division in 1997 and helped launch the company’s Sun Soy milk brand last year.

The agency won its bid to retain Morningstar Foods’ advertising account without the aid of a chief creative officer, a position which has remained open since the departure of Steve Bassett. Bassett returned to The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., last November after just one year with DDB.