DDB Snags Bel Brands

Maker of Laughing Cow Cheese Spent $4 Million Last Year

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- DDB Chicago may have lost creative duties on J.C. Penney, Dell Computer's consumer account and Home Depot's catalog business this year, but at least it can still move the cheese.
Who moved Bel Brand's cheese? DDB.
Who moved Bel Brand's cheese? DDB.

It's no McD's
In winning Bel Brands USA, which markets the South Beach Diet-friendly Laughing Cow cheese, DDB adds to its roster a marketer that spent just over $4 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. That's barely a rounding error on the mega-accounts DDB Chicago typically handles, such as McDonald's, Anheuser-Busch and State Farm.

(Crosstown rival Leo Burnett USA, mired in a similar new-business trend, recently announced it was adding $4 million KraftMaid Cabinetry to a client list that includes behemoths such as Walt Disney Co. and Philip Morris.)

DDB made the cheese cut following a review that included Omnicom sibling Element 79 as well as independent Cramer-Krasselt. Bel Brands incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, did not participate in the review, which focused on shops in Chicago, Bel's new headquarters city. Omnicom's OMD won media duties, which were previously held by Zenith Media, New York.

Significant increase planned
A DDB spokeswoman said Bel is planning a significant increase in spending for the 2007. She added that the agency -- which recently won creative duties for the Safeway supermarket chain -- is looking to acquire more package-goods clients.

"We are invigorated by the opportunity to broaden the appeal of these exciting brands and bring our food and retail expertise to the great team at Bel," said Dana Anderson, president-CEO of DDB Chicago. "We believe Bel Brands has a great opportunity to create brand experiences, not just brand advertising, to increase their share and better connect with shoppers."

Bob Gilbert, the president of Bel Brands USA, said, "The agency search process did confirm that Chicago is indeed rich in advertising resources ... We can't wait to get started with them."