Seafood Supplier Selects PR Counsel

LOS ANGELES Bumble Bee Seafoods has hired Fleishman-Hillard as its public relations agency, the shop said.

The PR firm had been handling project work for the canned seafood company for the last three months before Bumble Bee decided to expand the relationship, said Michael Busselen, senior partner and general manager for F-H in San Diego. F-H was initially tapped to assist Bumble Bee with the announcement that it was being sold by ConAgra Foods to Bumble Bee management and the private investment firm Centre Partners Management and its affiliates. The shop also helped Bumble Bee launch its Prime Fillet solid white albacore product in select markets.

Bumble Bee previously worked with PR agencies on a project basis, Busselen said. F-H was tapped without a review. Billings were undisclosed.

F-H is charged with handling PR and marketing initiatives, including a corporate visibility campaign and national launches for products including Prime Fillet and Touch of Lemon chunk white tuna.

“As a piece of ConAgra, it was relatively obscured,” Busselen said of the San Diego-based client. While awareness of the Bumble Bee brand is strong, now that the firm is under new ownership, F-H will attempt to increase the visibility of the company’s executives, he said.

Bumble Bee has done little advertising in recent years and TNS Media Intelligence/CMR reports no ad spending since 2001, when the company had $400,000 in expenditures. Most Bumble Bee advertising is handled by McElroy in Marina del Rey, Calif., a client representative said.

F-H opened its San Diego office in January 1998. The outpost now has 80 employees and also works with clients including the San Diego Padres and SBC.