Cold Stone, the fast-growing chain that sells hand-mixed ice cream cones and cakes, selected Saatchi from a "handful" of agencies invited to pitch the business, a company spokesman said. It is also considering three undisclosed finalists for media-buying and -planning duties.
Little paid advertising
Cold Stone has previously done very little paid advertising and the spokesman wouldn't disclose projected media spending.
"We have grown from a word-of-mouth and PR-driven brand and are looking to grow more to a mass-media-driven brand complemented with word of mouth and PR campaigns," he said.
Saatchi will help determine the best media mix, including interactive and loyalty marketing and point-based gift cards.
Cold Stone was founded in 1988 in Tempe, Ariz., and operates as 1,400 independently owned franchisees. About 80% of its $408 million revenue come from sales of its main offering -- $4 gourmet ice cream cones. Customers can select from as many as 70 different add-ins, such as M&Ms or Oreo bits, that are mixed into the ice cream by hand in store on refrigerated slabs of granite.