FleishmanHillard scoops up Quaker Oats PR AOR account

Zeno Group is the incumbent on the business.

CHICAGO: PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats unit has selected FleishmanHillard as its PR AOR.

The company picked Fleishman for its 2017 PR business following an RFP process. The Omnicom Group agency demonstrated a "strong understanding" of the Quaker brand and delivered "best-in-class creative and strategic thinking" throughout the process, said Jody Menaker, director of communications for Quaker Foods U.S., via email on Thursday.

"[Fleishman] offers a deep expertise in driving the impactful nutrition communications we are seeking in order to best position the brand for the future," she explained.

Quaker began evaluating its agency support to ensure that the company is "pushing its creative thinking, considering diverse perspectives, and efficiently driving results for our business," a company spokesperson said earlier this month.

Zeno Group is the incumbent on the account. A representative from the DJE Holdings firm was not immediately available for comment.

"We are grateful to our current partner, Zeno Group, for the hard work and passion they’ve invested in our business over the last three years," Menaker added.

She did not comment further on the account change.

Fleishman will be determining the timing and scope of work and the team on the account in the coming weeks, said Maxine Winer, senior partner and GM at the agency, adding that Laura Shulman, SVP and head of the food and nutrition practice in Chicago, will be the account’s relationship manager.

"[Quaker is] a unique and special brand with an amazingly rich heritage," she said. "Quaker offers exactly what people want from their food today and is well-positioned for where the future of the industry is going."

Before Zeno, Quaker Oats worked with the firm’s sister agency, Edelman. At the start of 2012, Edelman launched a standalone agency after winning Kellogg’s business to avoid potential client conflicts, particularly those with Quaker. The spinoff agency, which worked exclusively with Kellogg, was first named The K Group Public Relations Company and then Krispr.

Edelman’s website lists Kellogg as Krispr’s client, noting that it works with the Special K, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies, Morningstar Farms, and Cheez-it brands.

Before hiring Edelman, Kellogg initially selected Weber Shandwick and sister agency Current in 2011 to lead PR for its U.S. brands. However, the firms had to resign their roles due to possible conflicts within parent company Interpublic Group.

A lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed on behalf of New York and California consumers last month against Quaker Oats parent company PepsiCo after testing found traces of the pesticide glyphosate in its oatmeal, according to The New York Times. PepsiCo responded by stating that the oats used in its products are responsibly grown.

The company has also issued two recalls of its Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars, unrelated to the lawsuit, in May and June due to listeria fears.  

This story was updated on June 23 with quotes from Winer.

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