Nestle’s Carnation Instant in Play

LOS ANGELES At least three contenders are chasing the ad account of Nestle’s Carnation Instant Breakfast, sources said.

They are: incumbent McCann Erickson and its Interpublic Group sibling Dailey & Associates, both in Los Angeles, and Olson, an independent in Minneapolis, per sources. Dailey is also a Nestle roster shop. Other undisclosed agencies could also be involved. The client has scheduled final presentations for early February.

Agency and client officials either declined comment or could not be reached.

Media spending on the brand this year will reach $15-20 million, sources said. Nestle, which acquired Glendale, Calif.-based Carnation Instant Breakfast in 1985, spent more than $10 million advertising the product in 2006, and more than $5 million through the first 10 months of last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

In July, Nestle completed the acquisition of Minneapolis-based Novartis Medical Nutrition, which makes the nutritional drinks Boost (currently handled by Olson) and Nutrament, as well as diet supplement drink Optifast.

According to sources, Nestle is mulling a move of Carnation Instant into the Novartis group.