TBWA C/D, Hunt-Wesson Split

TBWA Chiat/Day and Hunt-Wesson have ended their brief relationship. The Fullerton, Calif.-based client is starting a national search for an agency to take over most of the estimated $8-10 million business handled by its former shop.
Kay Carpenter, manager of corporate communications, said the two “mutually agreed” to part ways. Sources, however, said that the relationship between Hunt-Wesson and TBWA C/D was shaky right from the start, when the agency inherited the client in its January takeover of sister Omnicom Group agency Ketchum Advertising’s San Francisco office. That move was followed by the departure of key Ketchum executives.
The split follows TBWA C/D’s unsuccessful defense of the client’s $20 million Orville Redenbacher account. The business was awarded to Euro RSCG Tatham in Chicago in April, following a review. Sources said the remaining Hunt-Wesson business was too small to keep TBWA C/D interested in retaining the client. The agency produced no new work since the Ketchum takeover. Agency executives declined comment.
Creative duties only are in play. Pat Signorelli, the client’s director of media services, will oversee the search for Hunt-Wesson, which handles most of its media buying in-house. Hunt-Wesson will talk to roster agencies such as Houston Helm & Co. in Los Angeles and Berry-Brown Advertising in Dallas, as well as nonroster shops, said Carpenter.
The winner will handle Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Wesson Oil and others, said Carpenter. Responsibilities for some products are moving in-house. –with Teresa Buyikian