Cold Stone Creamery Picks Saatchi as First Agency of Record

Shop to Help Fast-Growing Ice-Cream Chain Become Mass-Market Brand

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Cold Stone Creamery has selected Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, as its first agency of record. The Publicis Groupe agency will handle brand strategy and advertising and also help determine media mix. Cold Stone's goal is to become the best-selling ice-cream brand in America by Dec. 31, 2009.
Cold Stone, which has done very little advertising in the past, is embarking on a new plan it hopes will make it the country's best-selling ice-cream.
Cold Stone, which has done very little advertising in the past, is embarking on a new plan it hopes will make it the country's best-selling ice-cream.

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.