Covent Garden Soup seeks agency for brand drive

LONDON - The New Covent Garden Soup Company has opened talks with agencies with a view to jump-starting its creative account, which has been dormant for three years.

It is understood that the review, being conducted through the AAR, is in its second stage. The company is considering small and large agencies. Banc, the incumbent, is not repitching.

Optimedia handles media planning and buying for the soup company. The media account will not be reviewed.

Sources say the company has a significantly increased marketing spend planned for next year, having held back on spend this financial year. It has also allocated extra funds for the drive.

Kate Raison, the marketing director for the parent company, Daniels Chilled Foods, conducting the pitch commented, "We are looking

forward to doing exciting things with the brand and working with a new agency -- we just have to find one."

In 1993, the client launched its first campaign starring its own staff through Bartle Bogle Hegarty. The £750,000 campaign appeared in weekend supplements and the women's press. But in 1996, after a three-month search for a new agency, the task was moved to Banc.

In 1998 the company launched its first £1 million TV ad campaign with the endline: "Fresh soup the way nature intended, from the New Covent Garden Soup Company." That year it was bought by Daniels, a fresh produce and drinks company, for £22 million.

Daniels is looking to sell a 30 per cent stake to Singapore Food Industries in order to raise £10 million. The money would be used to repay debt and expand and modernise its plants. Eventually, SFI may acquire Daniels in full.