Whole Foods parts ways with Publicis due to unresolved 'issues'

AUSTIN, TX: Less than a year after Whole Foods Market hired

Publicis Dialog for national PR, the Austin-based grocery chain has

jilted the firm in favor of runner-up Cone.



Boston's Cone was Publicis' closest competition in a February agency

review, said Whole Foods marketing VP David Smith. The company didn't

seek competitive proposals this time around.



"We were just unable to resolve some issues," said Steve Bryant,

president of Publicis' Seattle office, which was servicing the account.

"We weren't feeling we were getting to where we needed to be," Smith

agreed.



Cone CEO Carol Cone said her firm will work on a number of national

branding and positioning issues, including genetically modified foods

and organic labeling, and will gradually help establish Whole Foods as

the chain's sole brand. Currently, the company also operates the Fresh

Fields, Bread & Circus, and Wellspring Grocery chains.



Going forward, Smith said, Whole Foods' external PR model will include a

national agency complemented by smaller firms in seven US regions.



Smith would not say which regions had hired agencies. Houston's Vollmer

Associates, however, issued a press release in December announcing that

it had won the Southwest regional contract.



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