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Admitting it has "undersupported" its three key brands, Hunt-Wesson/Peter Pan Foods Co. last week awarded their ad assignments to Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago.

Ad outlays for the brands-Wesson oil, Peter Pan peanut butter and Knott's Berry Farm jams and jellies-have been minimal, and expected future spending on the accounts isn't known. But should Hunt-Wesson decide to match its rivals, ad spending on peanut butter alone could eventually hit $20 million.

"These are strong brand equities, but we have undersupported them in the past," said Joe Jiminez, president, Hunt-Wesson/Peter Pan Food Co. "We have selected Tatham to help us build these brands through advertising."


The win gives Tatham a larder full of Hunt-Wesson brands. The agency picked up the estimated $10 million to $15 million combined budgets for Orville Redenbacher popcorn and Swiss Miss cocoa brands this summer.

In the latest competition, the agency beat finalists Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago, and Houston Helm & Co., Los Angeles. Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, and Berry Brown, Houston, were also initially in the review, which was temporarily derailed last summer by a management shakeup at Hunt-Wesson.


"It's an opportunity to develop some wonderful existing brands and develop new products," said Mary Baglivo, CEO of Euro RSCG Tatham. "We're passionate about taking brands we see equity in and taking them to new levels of growth."

Neither the agency nor Hunt-Wesson will discuss the new-product opportunities, but in the peanut butter category, rival Procter & Gamble Co. is testing a line of flavored peanut butters called Jif Sensations. It's believed Hunt-Wesson also sees considerable potential in the Knott's Berry Farm brand.

In the $563.4 million creamy peanut butter category, Peter Pan comes in fourth with $70.4 million in sales, behind Jif, Bestfoods' Skippy and private-label brands.

In the $645.4 million jelly/jam category, Knott's Berry Farm is the No. 5 player, at $21.3 million. J.M. Smucker Co. leads that category. At $157 million, Wesson is third in the $826 million cooking and salad oils category, where private-label brands rack up the highest sales.

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