IDQ Whittles Its List Down to 3

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–International Dairy Queen has pared the list of agencies in the running for its $25-30 million account to three, and given the finalists a strategic planning assignment due June 17.

Remaining in the competition for the Minneapolis-based fast-food and soft ice cream chain’s business are incumbent Campbell Mithun Esty in Minneapolis and New York shops Grey Advertising and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Publicis/Bloom in New York became the second agency to withdraw from the competition before the last cut was made, an IDQ official said.

The client representative would not give the agency’s reasons for resigning. Earlier, BBDO in New York dropped out because, according to the client, the agency could not agree on financial terms or on which of its offices would handle the business.

Also failing to make the final cut were Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., and The Lord Group in New York, IDQ confirmed last week.

IDQ’s nearly 5,000 outlets are concentrated in the Midwest and East Coast, with reported 1995 U.S. sales of $2.4 billion. That places it at No. 9 among Technomic’s Top 100 restaurant companies.

The company is reportedly not dissatisfied with CME’s creative work, which currently is anchored around a ‘Think IDQ’ theme, but wants to see whether another agency can handle media planning and buying more efficiently.

Spot TV buying capabilities will be key in deciding a winner, according to Gary See, IDQ’s vice president of marketing.

Both challengers to incumbent CME are touting extensive restaurant experience. Grey handled Domino’s Pizza before resigning the business earlier this year, and now is defending its Red Lobster account. Saatchi & Saatchi’s pitch is led by Stan Becker, creative director of the ‘Where’s the Beef’ campaign for Wendy’s. CME earlier this year won the national creative portion of the Domino’s account.

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