Ground Zero Intros Contessa Campaign

LOS ANGELES Contessa Premium Foods has launched a print campaign and its first television commercial work via independent shop Ground Zero.

“They hadn’t done much advertising in the past,” said Andrew Gledhill, shop president, “only some promotional stuff on the Food Network.”

The agency here won Contessa without review, though the client “looked at options after several credentials discussions,” according to Gledhill.

“We’re delighted to be working not only in the packaged-goods business but for a local firm as well,” he said. “That is a rare and wonderful thing.”

Ground Zero, which won Beck’s beer last summer, worked on Virgin Cola in the late ’90s, and currently handles Pinky Vodka, in which the agency owns an equity stake.

The first campaign for the San Pedro, Calif.-based company touts the client’s range of ready-to-cook meals. Some marketing materials feature the line “Set the stage. Be the perfect host.”

Contessa, which began in 1984, specializes in frozen seafood dishes and convenience meals and makes the Shanghai brand of frozen entrees as well. The company in recent years has spent less than $1 million annually in measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The budget for the new campaign was undisclosed.

Contessa’s main promotional venture of late has been the sponsorship of the 30-minute PBS cooking show Simply Ming featuring the Emmy award-winning chef Ming Tsai.