John West Foods, the canned fish business that Heinz bought from
Unilever in June, has hired Leo Burnett to develop a brand-building ad
Leo Burnett fought off Heinz’s lead agency, Bates Dorland, for the
business, thought to be worth pounds 3m. Incumbent Bartle Bogle Hegarty
declined to re-pitch for its dormant account.
Leo Burnett’s French sister agency, Bordelais Lemeunier, already handles
Heinz’s Petit Navire fish brand. However, the new brief will focus
solely on the UK market.
It will be the first above-the-line promotion the brand has received
since 1991. Heinz’s UK seafood director, Ian Meadows, admitted that the
brand had ’not received the level of marketing support it deserved’.
John West dominates the canned fish and seafood category, holding almost
a third of the market. Heinz bought the company for around pounds 40m as
part of Project Millennia, its long-term reorganisation and growth plan.
While Heinz is known for manufacturing canned foods, its presence in the
canned fish and seafood category has traditionally been weak.
Meanwhile, Heinz has handed Bates Dorland the pounds 4m advertising
account for its frozen and chilled division, which was resigned by Euro
RSCG Wnek Gosper in May. The agency already holds around pounds 17m of
Heinz business, including its grocery division and the ’A toast to life’
corporate ad campaign.