Sunbeam Goes Dark At O&M

Sunbeam Corp. said it had not set any plan to seek a new advertising agency after announcing last week that it will not continue its relationship with Ogilvy & Mather when the agency’s contract expires Dec. 31.
O&M had been Sunbeam’s agency of record since 1996. Its most recent advertising for the company’s flagship lines was tagged, “Sunbeam. Now there’s a bright idea.”
In a statement, Tom Hall, O&M Chicago’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We understand their desire to go in a new direction and wish them great success in the future.”
Though officially the agency cited “philosophical differences” for the split, sources said management shifts at the client and a lower priority on advertising were the key factors.
Earlier this year, Sunbeam acquired in-home safety marketer First Alert; Signature Brands USA, maker of Mr. Coffee; and outdoor products manufacturer Coleman Co. In June, the company announced it would consolidate advertising with a single agency, but that plan was abandoned after the company’s board ousted controversial chairman (and O&M supporter) Al Dunlap. The company has experienced a series of management and financial setbacks since the boardroom coup.
O&M has been working on Mr. Coffee and Coleman as well as Sunbeam’s Oster brand, but Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis has continued to handle the First Alert line.
Sunbeam representative Maureen Bailey said company officials are sorting out Sunbeam’s financial problems and have not made any marketing decisions for the next year. She said the company’s new management consists of “aggressive marketers,” including former Revlon chairman Jerry Levin and new household products marketing vice president Jo Anne Lala, who joined from Bozell Worldwide in New York.