Lindt Drops Gearon, Seeks Shop

By David Gianatasio

BOSTON–Lindt & Sprungli has pulled its domestic advertising business from Gearon Hoffman after only six months with the Boston shop and is in the process of reviewing shops to handle its account.

Clarke Goward and Ingalls Advertising, both in Boston, and Leonard/Monahan of Providence, R.I., have emerged as finalists for the assignment, sources said.

Those shops have held discussions with Lindt executives at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Stratham, N.H., and a final decision is expected this month, sources said.

Jodi Gilano, the retail marketing manager at Lindt overseeing the agency search, and other company officials did not return calls by press time.

Lindt parted with Gearon Hoffman because ‘there were just too many differences of opinion,’ said agency president Bob Hoffman. ‘We told them what we thought they should do and basically there were strong disagreements about . . . the creative and strategic direction’ of the retail ad campaign, he said.

The agency was tapped last November following a review to promote the company’s 25 chocolate shops, which opened throughout New England during the past year but had received little marketing support.

At the time, annual billings were estimated in the $1 million range.

Lindt spending may increase to $2-3 million as the Kilchberg, Switzerland-based chocolatier prepares to open as many as 25 more chocolate shops in the region in 1997-98, according to sources.

Gearon Hoffman fashioned print, radio and outdoor advertising that ran during Lindt’s busy season during the winter and spring months.

The campaign was designed to draw customers to stores and was not heavily focused on long-term brand building, Hoffman said.

Gearon Hoffman claims its specialty is developing strong brand identities for new ventures but Hoffman declined to say if the client’s emphasis on traffic-building advertisements was a point of contention.

‘I’d just say it was a qualitative disagreement,’ Hoffman said.

Having added the $4-5 million AllEnergy account to its roster two weeks ago, Hoffman maintained that losing the Lindt business will have an ‘insignificant effect’ on his shop in terms of staffing and profitability.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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