Atkins Nutritionals taps Magnet AOR as comms chief ponders exit

NEW YORK: Financially troubled Atkins Nutritionals has named Euro RSCG Magnet its new AOR, just as the company's head of PR is mulling a possible departure.

NEW YORK: Financially troubled Atkins Nutritionals has named Euro RSCG Magnet its new AOR, just as the company's head of PR is mulling a possible departure.

Richard Rothstein, corporate communications VP, declined to discuss budget numbers or the nature of the work, saying only that Magnet "delivered a very special area of expertise that I haven't seen before."

The firm will service Atkins through a new practice called PopWorx, which specializes in nontraditional outreach, such as viral marketing, product placement, and interactive gaming.

"It's something they have neither done nor explored before," said SVP Jason Schlossberg.

Between seven and 10 staffers will work on the account.

Meanwhile, Rothstein said he is "exploring a variety of options with regard to my own future" at Atkins. He and the company are discussing whether he will stay as an employee or move to an outside role. Either way, he "will remain at the helm of Atkins' corporate communications into the future," Rothstein said.

The Atkins search has raised eyebrows by coming on the heels of a July 30 Chapter 11 filing that included another PR firm, Widmeyer Communications, among the creditors. Widmeyer is still owed $112,500 for public affairs work performed in 2004.

But Magnet insisted the Widmeyer situation was not a matter of concern for the agency.

"We're very comfortable with the business arrangement we have developed with Atkins Nutritionals," Schlossberg said.

Rothstein said the Widmeyer claim is part of the bankruptcy proceedings and will be addressed in that process.

Since filing for bankruptcy, the company has pared its offerings by almost half to concentrate on nutrition bars and shakes, cereals, and confectionary products.

The company has repeatedly said the bankruptcy would not slow its business plans. It hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 before year's end.

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