Its Minneapolis office, Bozell Kamstra, just retained 19-year client Schwan's Sales Enterprises -- for its frozen pizza brands -- after a review caused by a potential conflict created by its new parent, True North Communications. Then, less than a week later, Bozell's Southfield, Mich., office won the $20 million to $30 million Little Caesar Enterprises account, formerly at Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York.
This time, however, Schwan's is expressing no concern, even though its Rising Crust products -- its brands are Tony's, Red Baron and Freschetta -- are positioned as alternatives to takeout pizza such as Little Caesars.
"I think we're being faced with those kinds of decisions more and more" as supermarket-distributed brands become more focused on home meal replacement and go up against quick service restaurants, said Dan Koch, general manager- Tony's Pizza Service at Schwan's Grocery Products, a unit of Schwan's. "Many clients are going to see a grain of what was considered [in the past] to be a conflict," he added.
BOZELL SAVES TWICE
Mr. Koch said Bozell was able to assure the marketer twice that its business will be separate from others'. Schwan's reason for calling the first review was that its frozen pizzas would be under the same corporate umbrella as archrival Kraft Foods, whose frozen Jack's, Tombstone and DiGiorno Rising Crust are handled by True North's Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago.
"We had to convince them there would be a separation between church and state" in the case of Kraft, said Dean Buresh, president of Bozell Kamstra.
In the case of Little Caesars, "there's no conflict because of the fire walls," he said.
Kraft executives didn't return calls by press time for comment on its conflict policy.
"You have a slim cadre [of conflict-free agencies] to choose from," added Mr. Koch.
Little Caesars, too, said it has no quarrel with Tony's being with Bozell.
"The agency is independently operated and we felt comfortable. It wasn't a big issue," said Denise Ilitch Lites, vice chairwoman and marketing chief.
RETAINING `PIZZA! PIZZA!'
Although she wouldn't discuss a break date or changes in media spending or strategy on its new effort, Ms. Ilitch Lites said humor, the brand's hallmark for years, will remain -- as will the chain's longtime "Pizza! Pizza!" slogan and the Little Caesars animated spokescharacter.
"What we liked about [Bozell's] creative approach was it was very broad and very unique and could be adapted in many different ways, and adapt itself to many different situations."
She said the fact Rob Elliott, former VP-marketing at Little Caesar, is now at Bozell did not influence the decision, adding that Executive Creative Director Gary Topolowski was the lead person on the pitch.
According to one executive familiar with the pitch, Bozell presented two side-by-side pizzas "talking" to each other to evoke the spirit of "Pizza! Pizza!"
Bozell pitched against Grey Advertising, New York (coincidentally, Grey is a media shop for Kraft, although it recently lost creative on several Kraft brands) and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, South-field.
Contributing: Jean Halliday