PLYMOUTH, WI: Cheese company Sargento Foods hired GolinHarris as its AOR, effective this week, following a competitive RFP process that began two months ago. Golin replaces six-year AOR Wheatley & Timmons.“As we continued to grow and had more sales and billings, we thought there may be some advantages to looking at larger agencies,” said Barbara Gannon, VP of corporate communications and government affairs at the company.
The agency will handle consumer and corporate PR, government affairs, and social media. It will also work on integrated branding alongside the company's new advertising agency, Grey, noted Gannon.
The company had issued an RFI to numerous large and midsized agencies earlier this year, narrowing it down to four agencies for the RFP, including M Booth – as confirmed by the agency - Golin, and two undisclosed large agencies.
“GolinHarris demonstrated an ability to integrate with advertising in the past, which we felt was important,” she said. “We also had good chemistry with the primary people who will be working on the account.”
The review did not include Wheatley & Timmons.
“We've had a terrific, wonderful, and productive relationship with Sargento, and we're sorry to see them go,” said Wheatley & Timmons CEO Bob Wheatley.
Gannon would not disclose the new agency budget, but confirmed that it's in the upper-six-figures range.
Though consumer will be the largest focus for the agency, Gannon noted that the company anticipates a greater push in public and government affairs, in line with new legislation in health and nutrition, food safety, and other areas.
“We're looking at perhaps changing the mix of our PR strategies and tactics,” she added. “I wouldn't say the billings are immediately going up, but we are poised for growth in advertising and PR.”
Gary Rudnick, MD at Golin, said the agency is looking for new hires to work on the account.
"It's a Midwestern company so we have similarities in our headquarters and culture," he added. "I think it's a brand that has enormous potential.”
The contract is ongoing, with an annual scope of work and a 90-day notification clause should either side choose to terminate, said Gannon.