True North Communications' acquisition of Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, Chicago, paid a handsome dividend last week, when the holding company's Foote, Cone & Belding snared Quaker Oats Co.'s $35 million Snapple and $65 million Gatorade accounts.
"This never would have happened without BBV's long, successful history of great work on Gatorade," said Ron Bess, president of FCB's Chicago office. "It also never would have happened without True North acquiring BBV."
Bayer Bess had handled Gatorade since 1983 and was acquired by True North in January; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, had Snapple since 1992, before Quaker's acquisition of the brand.
`VAST BEVERAGE EXPERIENCE'
"True North has provided us with deeper talent, worldwide resources and vast beverage experience for Gatorade. We want to apply all these same resources to Snapple as we take the brand to the next level," said Donald Uzzi, president-beverages at Quaker.
The Snapple shift also never would have happened if Quaker really liked Kirshenbaum's $40 million ad campaign, launched with much fanfare in April. Though Snapple sales, which struggled mightily in 1995, are up about 10% in '96, the quirky campaign got mixed reviews.
GATORADE MOVE EXPECTED
Quaker's decision to move Gatorade from Bayer Bess to FCB had been expected since January, when Mr. Bess moved over. The entire Gatorade staff at Bayer Bess, about 20 people, will go with the account.
Less expected--but not totally surprising--was the Snapple move. Kirshenbaum helped the brand achieve dramatic growth from 1992 to '94, but after Quaker acquired Snapple in November 1994, many observers expected the company to dump the New York shop. It didn't, keeping Kirshenbaum on board even as sales plummeted 9% to $610 million last year. The agency's work will continue to run through the summer.
Given this year's sales rebound, Kirshenbaum executives said they were startled when Quaker called with the news last week. But they said they had prepared themselves for such a possibility long ago.
"It was a big account, but we're already looking ahead," said Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman.
Snapple was Kirshenbaum's largest account. About 20 people will lose their jobs, Mr. Kirshenbaum said, leaving about 150 working on such accounts as Citibank, Olympus America and Schieffelin & Somerset Co.
OTHER KIRSHENBAUM LOSSES
The agency also recently lost two other $10 million accounts, Keds Corp. and CNBC. It had billings of $195 million in 1995, with revenue of almost $18 million. Kirshenbaum is one of five agencies vying for a new $20 million account from Prudential Healthcare.
Gatorade's switch from Bayer Bess to FCB follows similar shifts by Campbell Soup Co. and Helene Curtis Industries--and appears to make the True North-Bayer Bess deal look like a bad one for Bayer Bess.
But Chairman-CEO Gary Bayer said that's not the case, explaining True North wants to keep Bayer Bess and FCB separate to offer clients two different kinds of resources--big and small.
Bayer Bess will focus on accounts in the $5 million to $20 million range, and is competing for four such accounts now, he said. Among them: the $10 million Carrier Corp. and $15 million Golden Corral accounts.
Copyright June 1996 Crain Communications Inc.