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Pitch won by: DDB Chicago


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Agency of Record

TargetSUMMARY | About this pitch

ConAgra Brands has moved the portions of its North American marketing business that had been with DDB San Francisco to the agency’s Chicago office. There was no pitch and no review.

The decision stems, in part, from ConAgra’s interest in the dedicated model pioneered by We Are Unlimited, the Chicago agency that DDB parent company Omnicom created to serve McDonald’s late last year. The client—whose portfolio includes Reddi-wip, Bertolli, Pam cooking spray, Chef Boyardee and many other such brands—also moved its corporate headquarters from Omaha, Neb. to Chicago last summer.

“DDB North America has outlined a future-forward agency model powered by DDB Chicago, partnering with Annalect and Sparks & Honey, designed to move our business forward,” said ConAgra Brands chief growth officer Darren Serrao in a statement. “The time is right to recalibrate our agency/client partnership so that we can work more fluidly and effectively. DDB Chicago’s close proximity is also a plus for us.”

DDB San Francisco first began working on ConAgra’s Banquet line of products in 2004, and the client consolidated many of its major brands with that office nine years later. The agency currently handles marketing for 10-12 of those lines, according to North American CEO Wendy Clark, making ConAgra one of its 20 largest North American clients by annual revenue. Match Marketing of Norwalk, Conn. remains agency of record for several other portfolio brands including Manwich, Orville Redenbacher, Slim Jim, Alexia, Hunt’s, Hebrew National, Peter Pan, Healthy Choice and David’s Seeds. Its relationship with the client will not change.

According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, ConAgra Brands spent approximately $123 million on paid media in the U.S. in 2015 and $120 million from January to November of 2016.

“We quickly assembled a team … using the blueprint around the thinking we did for McDonald’s,” Clark said in describing a recent strategy meeting between agency and client. “In a matter of weeks, we put together something that looks revolutionary to the business.”

The model will not be exactly the same as Unlimited, Clark said, because McDonald’s is a franchise operation while ConAgra is a CPG company. But the data, strategy and programmatic buying services provided by Annalect and Sparks & Honey played a large role in driving the decision.

“This is not a lift and shift, but a blueprint we can follow,” she said, describing the ongoing transition as “changing the wheels on the bus as we’re driving.”

Clark traveled to the Bay Area yesterday to announce the news, which will impact 10-20 staff members in that office. The release states that the move is in keeping with plans to have DDB San Francisco focus on “cultural and behavioral change clients on the West Coast.” For example, a green energy campaign for The Pacific Gas and Electric Company will launch in Q2. Chief operating officer Valerie Bengoa will continue to lead the San Francisco office with North American CCO Ari Weiss overseeing creative.

DDB Chicago has already begun working on a brief for its newest client.

Client CLIENT | ConAgra's Customer Analysis


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