Trone Calls End To Days Of Canandaigua Wine

Resignation Follows Carolina Agency’s Loss Of Arbor Mist Brand
ATLANTA–Weeks after Trone Advertising saw work on the Arbor Mist brand shift to Partners & Shevack in New York without a review, the Greensboro, N.C.-headquartered agency has decided to walk away from all of its business with Canandaigua Wine Co.
According to Competitive Media Reporting, the upstate New York vintner spent nearly $17 million in 1997 on advertising and a like amount through the first half of 1998.
The agency maintains the resignation had nothing to do with the movement of the Arbor Mist business. That came two months after the agency had engineered a massive rollout for the wine and weeks after it launched the beginning of an 18-month, $35 million marketing and advertising blitz for the client’s Mystic Cliffs brand.
Additionally, the North Carolina agency, which worked on the client’s Cook’s Champagne, Al-maden, Dunnewood, Marcus James and Paul Masson brands, among others, had completed a comprehensive study on growth opportunities in the premium wine category. That work served as a prelude to Canan-daigua launching a premium division, Riverland Vineyards.
“We have spent the last five years with Canandaigua,” said agency partner and chairman Lee Trone. “We have them in the best possible position they could be in, but there are differences between the way they operate and the way we operate. We wanted to leave ourselves open to chasing other wine and spirits companies.”
Trone declined to specify what those differences were. He did say the business setback will not affect the agency’s doubling of its office space, and he predicted there would be no layoffs connected to the account loss. Trone said other new business gains, which he would not identify, will maintain current staff levels.
Officials with Partners & Shevack declined to comment on the split last week. Canandaigua marketing personnel did not return telephone calls at press time.
Trone officials did not say which accounts they planned to pursue.
–with Justin Dini