After 23 years with MDC Partners-owned Doner, beans maker Bush Brothers & Co., has selected a new agency of record: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch.
Carmichael Lynch will now serve as the company's strategic lead agency, spanning strategy and creative, across all brands including Bush's baked beans, pinto beans, black beans, southern-style white beans and every other bean in-between. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring new thinking to this iconic brand," said Julie Batliner, Carmichael Lynch's president.
Bush Brothers President-CEO Al Williams said the appointment of Carmichael Lynch follows a competitive review. (According to one person close to the business, Doner declined to participate.)
"We’re energized by the capabilities [Carmichael Lynch] can bring to the table as we continue to evolve the legacy of Bush Brothers," said Williams, adding that Doner was a "valued partner" over the last 23 years. "We're grateful for the team's work."
"While it’s never easy for an agency to lose a longtime client, a 23-year run and the results we’ve achieved together, are things we take great pride in," said Doner CEO David Demuth. "And as our engagement winds down over the next few months, we will celebrate our shared successes together with the Bush’s team.”
Doner, which won the account in 1997, is credited with helping launch new products as well as evolve the beloved Bush brand mascots Jay and Duke.
The character Jay (who is actually company founder A.J. Bush’s great-grandson Jay Bush) and his "secret family recipe" first appeared in a series of ads created by Atlanta agency Cole Henderson Drake in 1993. Duke the golden retriever, who always tries getting his paws on the secret recipe, was introduced in 1995. One of the dogs who played Duke (and whose real name was Sam) died in 2018, with the company paying tribute to him on Facebook. Bush Brothers called the relationship between Duke and Jay in the post at the time "the embodiment of the Bush's brand" and vowed to keep it alive. The company has credited the campaign with boosting its market share to 80 percent (where it currently remains).
According to COMvergence estimates, Bush Brothers spent $23 million on measured media across its brands in 2018 and $21 million from the period of July of 2018 through June of 2019.