Publicis to brand organic grocery

AUSTIN, TX: Whole Foods Market has picked Publicis Dialog from a field of more than 30 competitors for its national PR account.

AUSTIN, TX: Whole Foods Market has picked Publicis Dialog from a field of more than 30 competitors for its national PR account.

AUSTIN, TX: Whole Foods Market has picked Publicis Dialog from a field of more than 30 competitors for its national PR account.

Publicis' Seattle office, along with Carmichael Lynch Spong in Minneapolis and Cone Communications in Boston made final presentations to Whole Foods' new in-house PR team earlier this month. Neither Whole Foods nor Publicis would discuss the value of the one-year, renewable contract, but one source valued it at more than dollars 300,000.

Whole Foods is shifting its focus to national branding following a recent internal reorganization that included the the hiring of David Smith as VP of marketing late last year, and Kate Lowery as national PR director early this month.

Publicis called on staffers from several cities to make its pitch, sending 35 people from Seattle to Austin for the final presentation, said Seattle president Jeff Hasen, whose office will handle the account.

'It's a tremendously significant account for us,' Hasen said. 'It definitely fits in with where we want to be in food.' Publicis' experience in the food sector, along with strong IR and branding capabilities, tipped the scales in its favor, said Lowery.

As a result of Publicis' appointment, Whole Foods cut loose most of the regional agencies with which it had been working.

'It's been a wonderful account,' said Kerry Tate, president of TateAustin, which handled Whole Foods PR for the Southwest region. 'We're going to miss them greatly.'

Whole Foods still is working with Dan Klores Associates in New York, which handled the February 15 grand opening of Manhattan's Chelsea store.

The Austin-based chain operates 120 natural food stores in 22 states.



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