The company is reviewing its estimated $15 million account following the acquisition of Kellogg Co.'s Mrs. Smith's frozen pies two weeks ago.
Included in the review is 35-year incumbent Wyse Advertising, Cleveland and New York, which gave Smucker's its familiar slogan, "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." Mrs.Smith's agency, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is also pitching, as are four others, including Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, and Bozell, New York, which may work with Wyse for the purposes of the review. A decision is expected by mid-April.
Wyse and Bozell have joined forces in the past, and Bozell's comparative strength with package-good brands could aid Wyse.
Could the arrangement lead to an acquisition of Wyse? "Could be," responded Bozell CEO Chuck Peebler. "Obviously, anyone we're working together with opens the door to all sorts of potentials. [But] we're not working on putting a deal together" now.
Wyse was almost sold to Interpublic Group of Cos. a few years back, but the deal fell through.
Burnett could very well be considered a front-runner. It already handles the Mrs. Smith's pie line, and its longstanding role as Kellogg's lead agency might give it a leg up with Smucker.
Smucker supplies the fruit spreads inside Kellogg's Pop Tarts, and the close supplier relationship led to Chairman Tim Smucker's appointment to the Kellogg board.
If Wyse, with $137.8 million in total billings, lost the account, it would almost certainly mean an end to its New York office. The branch's only work is Smucker, business it shares with Cleveland, where accounts include American Greetings Corp. and Stouffer Renaissance Hotels & Resorts.
Lois Wyse- president of the agency, ex-wife of Chairman- CEO Marc Wyse and author of the Smucker's slogan-works out of the New York office. She's involved in the review, a Wyse spokesman said.
"We've been with Smucker 35 years. It's one of the greatest relationships in advertising history," the spokesman said. "Smucker is reviewing all aspects of its business ... so we don't feel singled out."
Indeed, a Smucker spokeswoman said the business is being reviewed only because Mrs. Smith's had another agency. "We figured as long as we're looking at the two agencies, we might as well broaden it out a bit," she said.
At the time of the Mrs. Smith's acquisition, Smucker President Richard Smucker said he expected to win new fruit buying efficiencies from the purchase. He also said he anticipated intriguing possibilities for growth in frozen desserts.