FCB works to hold on to Snapple

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Quaker Oats Co.'s agreement last week to sell its troubled Snapple beverage brand to Triarc Cos. set agency Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, off on a scramble to keep the $40 million account.

FCB was filming new Snapple TV commercials the day Quaker said it was selling the business.


Triarc, marketer of RC Cola and Mistic Beverages, is paying $300 million for Snapple. With the sale, Quaker is taking a bath on the brand, having paid $1.7 billion for it in late 1994. Quaker was quick to add that it would recoup some $250 million in capital gains taxes on Snapple, essentially raising the total proceeds to $550 million.

After obtaining assurances from Quaker Chairman-President-CEO William Smithburg that Quaker wouldn't consider Snapple a conflict with Gatorade, the more-important beverage FCB handles for the marketer, an FCB executive said the agency has begun actively courting Triarc to keep the account.

Most of the Quaker managers on Snapple, including beverage chief Michael Schott, are expected to remain with the brand, and that could give the agency an inside track.

But existing Triarc agencies also have a foot firmly in the door. They include Deutsch, New York, which handles Mistic, a New Age brand that will be closely aligned with Snapple, and GSD&M, Austin, Texas, agency for RC. W.B. Doner & Co., Baltimore, is the agency for Triarc's Arby's fast-food chain.

Of the three, Deutsch may have the best chance.


Quaker had charged FCB with returning to the edgy approach used by Snapple's original agency, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York. Deutsch's style of advertising is more akin to Kirshenbaum's.

The FCB executive, however, claims the new Snapple ads are in the vein of "small-shop work. They have more of that Snapple personality."

Triarc spent about $70 million in measured media advertising for all its products last year and may not support Snapple at the level Quaker maintained.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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