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Panera CMO Claims Cramer-Krasselt Opted Out of Review

panera-logo-jpg“Cramer-Krasselt did not fire us,” Panera Bread Chief Marketing Officer Michael Simon told AdAge yesterday, referring to the leaked internal memo stating the agency had resigned from Panera Bread. Instead, Simon claims, “We told them we were going to open it up for review, and they decided not to participate.”

According to Simon, Panera had been reevaluating its marketing strategy due to weakening sales. AdAge writes that the company “had been pushing the agency to bring the advertising to the next level over the last couple months” but that while Cramer-Krasselt had been producing new work, Simon said the ads “weren’t breakthrough enough.” When Panera Bread told Cramer-Krasselt they were opening things up for a review, the agency declined to participate.

“We had a good relationship with the team [at Cramer-Krasselt]. And the work was good, but we were aspiring for great,” said Simon. “We told them we wanted to get more folks in the room and solicit new ideas from them…but incumbent agencies get reticent about bringing in new agencies.”

The review is reportedly underway, with eight undisclosed agencies involved. No request for proposal has been issued yet, as AdAge reports “the next step is to hold chemistry meetings, followed by an assignment for some of the shops.” The review, which will be conducted internally, is expected to last six or seven weeks.

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