Del Monte Foods, trying to gain its footing in today's organic, health conscious environment, created the New Ventures Group to grow the Del Monte and StarKist brands with new products in categories, and with a target of new groups of customers. Spending on the account was undisclosed, but the first of the new brands will launch regionally later this month and then roll out nationally. Maiden Lane was selected after a review, but other contenders were not disclosed.
Another San Francisco shop also is rolling in the dough, albeit frozen cookie dough. BuderEngel won the Otis Spunkmeyer ad account, focusing first on its food service business and then cooking up new consumer products. The BE folks will need all the sustenance they can for the big battle ahead this football season. They have won the account for the 49ers National Football League franchise, a team once renowned for its offense with greats Joe Montana and Steve Young, but lackluster in recent years. Add to that the fact that the team has a controversial plan to exit the city for a new home in Silicon Valley, and BE has their game cut out for them. In other news around the West, M&C Saatchi has named Huw Griffith Chief Executive Officer, North America. In a twist on the usual East Coast-centric agency chain of command, Mr. Griffith, 42, who has headed the Los Angeles shop since 2003, also will oversee the New York office. During his tenure Saatchi picked up a number of accounts, including Ketel One vodka and pet retailer Petco. As for New York, the man from the gentle sunshine of Southern California said of his plans for tackling the "ferocious" marketplace: "We need to ramp up by letting the work and the thinking do the talking."
Speaking of talking, direct response and informercial shop Zephyr Media Group of Evanston, Ill., has named media and studio executive Saul I. Fruchthendler as general manager of their new Long Beach/LA west coast office.