Though both parties insisted last week's decision was mutual, it's apparent Heinz's corporate decision starting in 1990 to move most of its marketing dollars out of advertising left Burnett with a frustrating account that didn't make financial sense anymore.
"Though this wasn't easy on any of us, we had to recognize that Heinz's needs have changed," said Tom Ross, exec VP-client services at Burnett. "Having a large full-service agency isn't necessary or appropriate for the brands Burnett was assigned."
A Heinz spokeswoman said, "There was a time when the one-size-fits-all approach worked for our brands. But our approach is changing from traditional to non-traditional marketing-targeted marketing and micromarketing. The broad full-scale advertising that Leo Burnett does so well is no longer the best approach for us."
The only Burnett-assigned brands receiving any ad support this year are Heinz 57 sauce and Heinz gravy.
Heinz said it would immediately reassign the brands without a review, to "agencies with capabilities that parallel these needs." The spokeswoman declined to be more specific.