$40 Million Account Could Go to Existing Roster Shop

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CHICAGO ( -- Sara Lee Corp. has "parted ways" with Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, its advertising agency on its Ball Park Franks and Jimmy Dean sausage accounts, the companies said today.

A spokeswoman for the Publicis Groupe

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agency said the decision was mutual, citing "differences about the future directions of the brands." Publicis sibling Starcom, Chicago, continues to handle media duties for the brands, which spent a combined $40 million in measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Consolidation likely
Consolidation of the account with another Sara Lee roster shop appears likely. Lee Chaden, Sara Lee's executive vice president of marketing and sales, told Advertising Age in September that his desire is to make Sara Lee "more important to fewer agencies."

Roster agencies include Publicis sibling Publicis in Mid America, Dallas, and Publicis Worldwide, New York; Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chicago; Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York; and Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, Chicago.

A Sara Lee spokeswoman declined to comment on which agencies are being considered or when a decision will be made, but said "the response has been great" and that she expects a decisions "sooner rather than later."

Highly decentralized
In April, Sara Lee appointed Mr. Chaden as its first central head of global marketing as the highly decentralized food, beverage, apparel and household products company looks to streamline its marketing investment and become more centralized.

Mr. Chaden has been developing a list of up to 10 key brand icons, including the flagship Sara Lee brand and $2 billion Hanes apparel brand, that will command the bulk of Sara Lee's marketing budget in the future.