SPRINGDALE, AR: Tyson Foods has chosen Golin/Harris International over four other suitors to be its first agency of record. The assignment will mean between dollars 1 million and dollars 2 million in annual PR fees for the agency.
SPRINGDALE, AR: Tyson Foods has chosen Golin/Harris International
over four other suitors to be its first agency of record. The assignment
will mean between dollars 1 million and dollars 2 million in annual PR
fees for the agency.
While the account will be handled out of Golin’s Chicago headquarters,
the firm has assembled a 10-person team that includes execs in
Washington, DC, and New York to work with the Arkansas-based Tyson, the
world’s largest poultry company.
Golin has been charged with a wide range of tasks, including brand
positioning, marketing communications, new product introductions, cause
marketing and community and labor relations for the dollars 7 billion
company. The agency’s work will not just be company-specific, however,
as Tyson also expects the firm to address industry-wide concerns such as
worker and food safety issues.
In US food circles, Tyson is generally credited with helping create the
concept of branded poultry products. First with its fresh chickens and
later with processed poultry items, Tyson has been able to develop a
brand identity in a marketplace where products and providers are largely
Before branding efforts by Tyson and competitors such as Perdue,
consumers routinely chose generic chicken over particular brands. Many
beef producers, who continue to sell their products unbranded, have
tried and failed to emulate Tyson’s branding strategies.
Surprisingly - especially for a company so identified with food branding
- Tyson has never had a PR agency of record. Its two in-house PR people
simply did not have enough resources to accomplish the breadth of PR
objectives Tyson will now ask Golin to handle, according to Bob
Corscadden, VP of corporate marketing at Tyson.
Corscadden, who declined to identify the other participants in the pitch
process, said Golin’s history of working with food-related companies
such as McDonald’s put it on the short list of companies Tyson
contacted. Only firms that had worked with major corporate clients were
invited to the table.
Tyson asked Golin and a second finalist to review a company case study
and make preliminary presentations on their findings, picking Golin on
the basis of those final presentations and how well personalities of
Golin’s team meshed with those of Tyson leaders. The selection process
lasted about six weeks.
While generally recognized as a marketing powerhouse, Tyson has had its
share of PR crises in recent years, such as accusations that the company
gave illegal gifts to a former secretary of agriculture who regulated
Tyson recently reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings of
dollars 78.9 million, but acknowledged it is facing price pressures at
the moment from a market glut of chickens. The company has withdrawn
from the seafood business and might get out of the pork trade as well.