Nabisco sets $250 mil promo review

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Nabisco is soliciting "potential new suppliers" for its estimated $250 million consumer promotion business, the fourth shake-up of its agency roster this year.

The giant food marketer has sent advisories to an undetermined number of shops stating it is "reviewing its purchases of consumer promotions." That, according to the letter, is broadly defined to include strategic planning, creative development, program development, project management/execution, graphic services, event sampling, in-store promotions and trinkets/premiums.


The Oct. 6 missive said "this process will lead to changes in Nabisco's supply base and could include the assignment of work to new suppliers."

General capabilities statements were due Oct. 16; after examining them, the company said, it would send out requests for proposals by November.

The move exemplifies Nabisco's resolve to consolidate where possible to crack down on costs, following a major restructuring announced in June that aims to save $100 million to devote to marketing. Since then, Nabisco has conducted a review of its print media buying (which Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C. retained) and named J. Brown/LMC, Stamford, Conn., as its co-marketing agency of record.

Just weeks ago, Nabisco fired McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, on its $20 million cracker account, moving the business to J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago.


"This is not a review," said a Nabisco spokesman. "It's part of an ongoing productivity effort across the board . . . to discover opportunities to leverage our critical mass."

The letter to agencies stated: "In 1996, the senior management of Nabisco instituted a systematic review of all its purchases of goods and services from outside suppliers. To date, the initiative has examined expenditure categories ranging from plastic packaging to in-store display units. In many cases, new business was awarded to suppliers who had not previously worked for Nabisco."

The Nabisco Biscuit Co. unit already has trimmed its consumer promotion roster. Within the past two years, it has "cut down dramatically" on the number of shops it uses, going from 15 to five, said an executive familiar with the situation.

The biscuit roster now includes Carlson Droddy, Westport, Conn.; Dugan Valva Contess, Morristown, N.J.; Ryan Partnership, Westport; and Promotion Network, Dallas.

Promotion agencies of record for Nabisco's other units--Nabisco Foods, Planters Co. and LifeSavers Co.--couldn't be determined at press time.

Nabisco's move is one in a string of recent promotion consolidations among packaged-food companies, including Kraft Foods and Pillsbury Co.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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