Shoney’s Restaurants Calls In Weilbacher To Conduct Review; Projects Ad Spending Boost

DETROIT-Shoney’s Restaurants is in the early stages of reviewing agencies for its account, currently held by Bernstein-Rein Advertising in Kansas City, Mo.
The company spent $15 million on advertising in 1996 and $7.4 million through the first six months of 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. However, the request for proposals that was recently sent to agencies projected 1998 spending at $26 million, sources said.
Susan Nardizzi, vice president of marketing for the Nashville-based chain of family restaurants, said the deadline for agencies responding to the request for proposals was Sept. 17. Nardizzi joined Shoney’s in November 1996, replacing Gregg Kaplan, who hired Bernstein-Rein in May 1995.
Shoney’s is working with consultant Bill Weilbacher of Bismark Corp. in Dennis, Mass., Nardizzi said. Weilbacher, who declined to comment, assisted Shoney’s sister chain Captain D’s in an earlier agency review. He also led recent reviews for Reebok, MFS Mutual Funds and others.
The company hopes to conclude the review by the end of November, according to Mimi Bliss, Shoney’s communications director. Incumbent agency Bernstein-Rein has been invited to participate in the review, Bliss said. Agency officials did not return calls seeking comment by press time.
The 844-unit chain’s request for proposals on the account was sent to agencies of varying sizes across the country. These included some with category conflicts, according to sources.
In addition to Bernstein-Rein, the finalists in the 1995 review were Austin Kelley Advertising and Tucker Wayne/ Luckie & Co. (now WestWayne), both of Atlanta, and the William Cook Agency, Jacksonville, Fla.
Bernstein-Rein’s “Classic American Food” campaign has used Andy Griffith as spokesman.
Buntin Out-of-Home Media, a division of The Buntin Group in Nashville, was assigned Shoney’s outdoor advertising account in November 1996.
-with Jim Osterman