How a new agency is displacing big dogs and Big Data by thinking small
Last spring, General Mills sent shockwaves through the agency world with the announcement it was launching a review of all its creative part ners for U.S. retail brands. Lucrative part nerships with power players McCann, Saatchi & Saatchi and Wieden & Kennedy were all under examination, all put on notice with a terse statement released by the company and attributed to no one in part icular: “We have a responsibility to ensure we have the right agency partners to continue growing our business, and agency reviews are a routine part of running a successful business today.”
Much of the industry kicked into high gear, putting together proposals. At stake was more than $700 million of ad spend hyping supermarket staples such as Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Nature Valley and Yoplait. By the time the dust settled at the beginning of December 2016, 72andSunny and Redscout, both owned by marketing holding company MDC Partners, were tapped as agencies of record (AOR). Three other shops—Joan, The Community and Erich & Kallman—were named as “preferred U.S. project-based agencies.” For San Francisco-based Erich & Kallman, the announcement capped off a year ripe with winning. Well, three-quarters of a year.
The indie ad shop had only announced its formation that April, weeks before word of the General Mills agency review trickled out. By the time it became a preferred project provider for the food giant, it had already landed other highly sought clients, including Chick-Fil-A, which choose the Bay Area startup over five rivals after dumping The Richards Group, its AOR for the past 22 years.