Kraft cuts creative roster to five

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Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., removed Grey Advertising from its creative roster, leaving the agency with only spot and children's media buying. More than $100 million in Kraft billings at Grey and advertising for nine Kraft brands (not all of them at Grey) were reassigned in a series of changes.

The brands involved are: Post adult cereals, Kool-Aid, Minute rice, Baker's chocolate, Shake & Bake coating mixes, Stove Top stuffing mixes, Light N' Lively cottage cheese, Good Seasons salad dressings and DiGiorno pastas.

"With these changes, our agency alignments better reflect the way we are marketing our products to leverage our sales more effectively," said Robert Eckert, Kraft president-CEO. But agency executives also said Kraft trimmed the number of agencies handling its creative work to five from six as part of a cost-cutting move.

Kraft said it would no longer pay "non-working media" commissions, such as advertising production and media talent costs, and that the account shifts were aimed at giving more business to the remaining agencies to help them recoup revenue lost from non-working media.

Kraft's Post adult cereals and Kool-Aid accounts move from Grey to Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York. O&M already handled most of the Post kids' cereal business. Spending on the lost cereal business fluctuated due to Kraft ad spending cuts, and ranged from $50 million to $80 million a year. Spending on Kool-Aid was estimated at $22 million for the first 11 months of 1997 by Competitive Media Reporting.

The $8 million Minute rice business and the $1.5 million Baker's chocolate account move to Y&R Advertising, Chicago, from Grey. Y&R, in turn, gives up the $14 million Shake & Bake coating mixes business, to O&M. Grey also loses Stove Top stuffing mixes, a $17 million account, to Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago.

In other shifts, Kraft's $600,000 Light N' Lively cottage cheese account at Y&R moves to J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, and the $8.5 million Good Seasons salad dressings account moves to Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, from JWT, Chicago, which already handles Kraft brand dressings. DiGiorno pastas and sauces, now at Burnett, moves to FCB, Chicago, which already had DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizza.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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