New Yorkers Vie to Revive English Muffins

NEW YORK At least three New York shops are set to present creative ideas this week in a review for Thomas’ English Muffins, a brand whose ad budget has plummeted since 2000.

Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free Ginsberg, WPP Group’s Klamath Communications and independent Seiter & Miller Advertising are vying for the account, formerly with Bates USA in New York, sources said.

According to a letter from the client, finalists will present print and point-of-sale campaigns that aim to drive awareness to Thomas’ line of Hearty Grains muffins. The brand, closely tied to traditional white English Muffins, has suffered lately in the wake of the Atkins diet craze and the advent of cereal bars. Brand managers are hoping that consumer awareness of Thomas’ healthier offerings will help revive the brand, sources said.

The correspondence also asks for suggestions for the brand’s overall budget, including muffins, bagels, toasting breads and waffles, and how those funds should be applied, be it TV and radio or public relations and guerilla marketing efforts.

While no media budget has been determined, the request suggests parent George Weston Bakeries is ready to inject more money into what has been a withering ad spend. Spending on the brand has declined from about $15 million in 2000 to approximately $5 million last year and less than $200,000 through the first quarter of 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor Plus.

Both the client and agencies declined comment.