Midwest Shops, Others Decline Hardee’s Invite to Pitch

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. – The long list of primarily Midwest agencies invited to pitch Hardee’s Food Systems quickly whittled itself down last week as several shops turned down the chance – some over a misconception, said Hardee’s.
Hardee’s broke with longtime agency Ogilvy & Mather/New York, partially over the client’s desire to split media and creative assignments. All media buying has been shifted to regional agencies and the review is for creative only on the $75-80 million business.
While the review initially was seen as an excellent opportunity for Midwest agencies, several of those known to have been invited declined, choosing to stick with smaller restaurant clients that pose conflicts. These include Minneapolis shops CME-KHBB (agency for Dairy Queen) and Martin/Williams (which just won Shoney’s); Chicago agencies Bayer Bess Vanderwarker (Boston Chicken) and Hal Riney & Partners (Subway Sandwiches); and Bloomfield Hills, Mich.’s Ross Roy (Domino’s). GSD&M in Austin, Texas, declined because of client Chili’s.
‘We wanted to give them a chance to say no,’ said Jerry Gramaglia, Hardee’s exec vp/marketing, of shops with obvious conflicts that were extended an invitation to pitch.
Two other Minneapolis shops without conflicts – Carmicheal Lynch and Fallon McElligott – also said no.
Still believed to be contenders are Lowe & Partners, Deutsch/Dworin and TBWA in New York; The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C.; and O&M/Chicago.
Agency sources say some ad firms opted out because the questionnaire appeared to offer a single project, but no long term relationship. ‘Nothing could be farther from the truth,’ said Gramaglia, who insists Hardee’s is looking for an agency of record.
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