With Miracle Whip Account, DDB Is in the Door at Kraft

Chicago Shop Finally Grabs a Spot on Food Behemoth's Roster

By Published on .

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

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Kraft Foods is moving the creative account for its Miracle Whip brand from its longtime shop, WPP
Group's JWT, Chicago, to Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago.

Spending rise?
Spending on the brand isn't large -- the $35 billion food behemoth spent only $15 million on Miracle Whip last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But the move is significant for DDB, which lands for the first time on the roster of the country's largest food company. There is also potential for Kraft to spend more on the brand, as it recently stated its intent to increase spending across its entire portfolio in order to boost sales, even if that marketing binge hurts near-term profits.

The Kraft agency roster has long been dominated by crosstown rivals JWT and Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB , and the account gives DDB a shot in the arm at a time when it badly needs growth. The agency saw marketers including Dell Computer, Home Depot and JC Penney flee its ranks last year, and has since targeted package goods, and packaged food, in particular, as a new-business priority. DDB has recently won creative duties for the Safeway supermarket group and for Bel Brand's Laughing Cow cheese line.

A Kraft spokeswoman said that in moving the business to DDB, the marketer is "looking for a fresh perspective" on Miracle Whip. She added that Kraft has a "great relationship" with JWT, which still handles a number of its other brands, including Kraft Singles, Philadelphia cream cheese and some Nabisco-branded products.

Connections to brand
DDB President Dana Anderson and Paul Tilley, the agency's top creative, both worked on Miracle Whip during an earlier stint at JWT. (Ms. Anderson also previously worked on Kraft accounts at FCB.) Speculation among DDB-watchers has long centered around the agency making a pitch for Kraft.

Another account that apparently has long been a DDB target is CareerBuilder, which puts its $60 million account into review last month following a contentious breakup with Cramer-Krasselt.

DDB is currently pitching for the CareerBuilder account against fellow Chicago agencies Leo Burnett, part of Publicis Groupe, and DraftFCB as well as Boston's Arnold. According to two people familiar with the matter, DDB has been holding discussions about the account with CareerBuilder since last summer.

A DDB spokeswoman declined to comment about CareerBuilder, and referred a Miracle Whip inquiry to Kraft.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Miracle Whip account had been with JWT for the past 74 years.
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