Weber Shandwick catches Maine Lobster integrated account

The Interpublic Group firm beat out more than 20 shops for the account, which includes PR, creative, digital, and social media.

PORTLAND, ME: The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has hired Weber Shandwick as its first AOR, handling all PR, advertising, digital, and social media efforts for the organization, following a review including 21 firms.

Weber, which will begin working on the account in January, won the extensive review because of its mix of a "hometown feel with extraordinary capabilities," said Matt Jacobson, executive director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative.

"We really liked that they felt local and have folks on their team who are from Maine or have worked in Maine and understand the industry and our internal makeup, but they’re also global, powerful, and know so much about the food business," he explained.

The Maine Legislature created the Collaborative in 2013. Jacobson said the organization is focused on making "the brand a lot stronger" and driving demand.

"Everybody knows Maine Lobster, but being able to bring that to a whole different set of people and bring lobster to different parts of the country is a huge opportunity," he said.

The contract for the integrated account will run through 2018, and the group expects to spend about $1.5 million in 2015 and $2.4 million for each of the three years afterwards, Jacobson added.

Weber president Gail Heimann said the account win showcases the firm’s diverse set of capabilities, and she expects the agency to bring on more integrated accounts.

"We’re uniquely rigged to tackle this kind of assignment and deliver big results," she said.

Weber, which will manage the account mainly from its Boston office, will work to engage media and influencers for stories about people whose livelihoods depend on lobster, as well as food-related narratives.

"The key goal is to get people excited about Maine Lobster and showcase it as the premium, sweetest, and best lobster," explained Heimann.

In addition to Maine Lobster, Weber also recently won work for Spanish wine regions DO Ribera del Duero and DO Rueda, which recently united, leading integrated marcomms. The firm started work on that account earlier this month and is handling consumer and trade PR, corporate efforts, social media, and trade and digital advertising.

Prior to Weber, DO Ribera del Duero worked with Gregory White PR, and DO Rueda worked with Colangelo & Partners PR.

Representatives from the two firms did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Weber’s goal working with the combined wine regions is to enhance their awareness in the US and introduce them to "the next generation of wine drinkers," said Heimann.

The multi-million-dollar account, led by the firm’s New York and Chicago offices, will run for five years.

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