Two Left Standing in Race for Jenny Craig

Weight-loss company Jenny Craig has reduced its media buying and planning review to its two roster shops, but is fattening the billings prize.

Still in the hunt for the retailer’s business are Starcom, San Francisco, which handles Jenny Craig in Australia, and Carat, Los Angeles, which plans and buys media for the client in North America.

But “we are possibly looking at a global effort” to assign the eventual winner, said Patty Loessberg, Jenny Craig director of advertising. That would add the $3 million Australian business to the review, and increase the total amount of billings in play to $28 million.

Two other contenders, Grey Direct and Horizon Media, both Los Angeles, did not make the penultimate cut, in part, Loessberg said, because the expanded brief mandates broad resources and international reach.

The chain has retained investment banker Koffler & Co. to explore a possible sale of the company, a search Jenny Craig has said could increase the ad budget. When the media review was launched in the spring [Adweek, May 21], Barbara Barry, vp of marketing and corporate communications, noted that the chain was in expansion mode and looking to enter new markets. Jenny Craig operates more than 650 centers.

When the review was launched, the well-known retail brand was wooed by some of the largest media shops in the country, but confined its search to agencies in California or with large West Coast offices. Last month, it cut its list to seven shops.

Creative is handled by Johnson/Ukropina in Irvine, Calif.