Richards Group Wins $10 Million Pork Board Account

Pork Producers Plan New Ad Campaign for 2005

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NEW YORK ( -- The National Pork Board today announced it has awarded Richards Group of Dallas its estimated $10 million advertising account, which was put in review in April 2004.

Other agencies in the review included

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the incumbent, Campbell Mithun of Chicago, a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos., as well as independent shops Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, and Periscope Marketing Communications, Minneapolis.

New ad campaign
Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, the Pork Board, whose funding comes from an oft-contested checkoff program from pork producers, plans to launch a new ad campaign in March 2005.

Richards Group will for the first time veer from the long-running tagline "Pork. The Other White Meat," developed by Campbell Mithun in 1987. However, the familiar phrase will be included as an element of a new branding campaign, which a Richards Group spokeswoman said will take "a whole new direction."

Court ruling
In October of last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld a lower court decision that ruled illegal the assessment of 45 cents per $100 of hog sold that helps fund the National Pork Producers Council's marketing efforts. The court said the checkoff was "forced speech."

It is that checkoff program that will fund the $10 million ad budget the Pork Board has awarded to the Richards Group. A spokeswoman from the Pork Board could not immediately be reached for comment on the status of the court case.

No funds cut off
Similar blows have been dealt to the National Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board supporting the "Beef: It's what for dinner" campaign from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and others, but no program funds have been discontinued as a result of pending legal action.