ConAgra Sticks With MediaCom for Ad Buying and Planning

Marketer to Spend $425 Million on 'High Priority' Brands

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ConAgra retained incumbent media agency MediaCom, part of WPP Group, following a review, said a spokeswoman for the Omaha, Neb.-based company. The agency will handle media planning and buying for a portfolio of brands that include Banquet Frozen Foods, Chef Boyardee and Health Choice.
ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin has selected 16 brands earmarked as 'high priority' and intends to spend $425 million in marketing on them over the next three quarters.
ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin has selected 16 brands earmarked as 'high priority' and intends to spend $425 million in marketing on them over the next three quarters.

Contenders
The decision follows a review launched in mid-October, handled by agency consultancy Roth Associates. MediaCom competed against Aegis Group's Carat in the final round of the competition. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative also participated but was cut in November.

ConAgra spent $144 million in measured media in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence, and $80 million for the fist nine months of this year.

ConAgra CEO Gary Rodkin, who joined from PepsiCo a little more than a year ago, has been trying to orchestrate a turnaround at the company from a hodgepodge of second-tier brands into a leading package-goods player. Mr. Rodkin has selected 16 brands earmarked as "high priority" and intends to spend $425 million in marketing on them over the next three quarters.

Strategic partner
Executives close to the review said ConAgra wants to involve its media agency more "as a strategic partner" and asked each contender to develop plans on how to reach consumers on two of its big brands: Chef Boyardee and Healthy Choice. The spokeswoman had no comment on specifics of the pitch.

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Brooke Capps contributed to this story.
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