Pinnacle Eyes Optimedia

Pinnacle Foods is poised to shift media duties to Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia after a review, according to sources. The selection is subject to agreement of final terms and the signing of a definitive contract. Talks are currently ongoing, per sources.
The client hopes to make an announcement in a of couple weeks about the selection, sources said.

Pinnacle spent $50 million on ads in 2009 and about $20 million through the first seven months of 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures exclude online spending.

Up to now, planning and buying chores have been split among several shops. Finalists included independent Horizon Media and Prometheus, a “sub-brand” of Omnicom’s OMD used to manage conflicts (in this case Frito-Lay).

The media review was conducted simultaneously with a somewhat disjointed creative agency contest this summer, in which the client initially selected MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners as its lead shop on frozen-food brands, but then switched gears in September, giving the account to Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York. Omnicom’s BBDO in New York landed creative duties on dry-goods brands — after a review — in July.

The agencies either couldn’t be reached or declined to comment on the review. Pinnacle evp Sally Genster Robling, one of the senior client executives involved in the review, was not immediately available for comment.

The client did not use an agency search consultant to manage the review process but did consult with outside procurement experts, according to sources.

–with Andrew McMains