Crispin Hits 'Dead' End With ConAgra

Shop That Brought Redenbacher Back to Life Loses $34 Million Account

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

NEW YORK ( -- The agency that "reanimated" the late popcorn founder Orville Redenbacher for ConAgra Foods has lost the brand, along with Slim Jim beef jerky in a $34 million account shift.
The 'reanimated' Orville Redenbacher from Crispin generated a lot of buzz, not all of it positive.
The 'reanimated' Orville Redenbacher from Crispin generated a lot of buzz, not all of it positive.

ConAgra shifted the two brands from Crispin Porter & Bogusky to independent Venables, Bell & Partners, according to people familiar with the accounts. Crispin created a lot of buzz for the brands -- not all of it positive -- as ad reviewers, blogs and the general public debated the relative creepiness of the computer-generated pitchman quickly dubbed "Deadenbacher."

'Leap of faith'
In January, Stan Jacot, VP-marketing for popcorn at ConAgra, called the campaign "definitely a leap of faith on our end," noting that "anything new is bound to be controversial." And at Cannes, Crispin won a silver Lion in the cyber category for Slim Jim.

In 2005, ConAgra shifted several brands out of WPP Group's Grey Worldwide, including Reddi-Wip -- which Crispin did some creative work for in the past -- in an attempt to consolidate its roster of agencies. Reddi-Wip is currently handled by Omnicom Group's Element 79.

Executives close to the situation said Crispin did not defend the accounts in a review that also involved independent Nitro and Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, San Francisco. ConAgra currently sports DDB and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett on its roster.

Spokespeople at Crispin and Venables referred calls to the client. ConAgra did not return calls for comment.

Crispin recently won the small-business services account for American Express.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Deutsch had been a roster agency for ConAgra, but the Interpublic shop is no longer. Also, the story had implied Crispin would continue to handle Reddi-Wip. The agency did do some creative work for the brand in the past, but it is now handled by Element 79.
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