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Denies Hal Riney Won; Hires Consultant for New Search

By Published on .

SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., which in September indicated it had awarded its
Sept. 27, 2002 story:
Sweet Deal Worth $2 Million

advertising account to Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, has now hired a consultant to conduct a search to find an agency for the same account.

The San Leandro, Calif.-based candy firm, owned by Lindt & Sprungli USA, said it has hired Pile & Co. to conduct a search for a shop to handle its $2 million-plus in ad work.

Executives stepped in
Three months ago, executives at Ghirardelli had told agencies following a review that the account was going to be awarded to Hal Riney, San Francisco. Later, however, executives at Lindt & Sprungli stepped into the situation and the deal was never executed, executives familiar with the situation said.

Ghirardelli's vice president of marketing, Tinka Gordon, denied that the company ever awarded the business, describing last summer's search as unsuccessful. Ms. Gordon said the company hopes to choose an agency in the next three months to handle the first national ad campaign for its specialty chocolates.

A spokesperson at Hal Riney declined to comment on the situation.

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