SALEM, OR: Kettle Foods, a major producer of natural snack foods, has hired Portland, OR-based Maxwell PR as its AOR.
The selection came after a three-month RFP process in which Kettle talked with 10 agencies.
Michelle Peterman, Kettle's VP of marketing, declined to discuss the other firms up for the account, except to say that they are all in the Portland area.
Maxwell was selected because of its history of working with socially responsible clients and because of the "quality and freshness of its ideas," said Peterman. "Kettle Foods is still an entrepreneurial company, and we felt Maxwell could relate to us," she added.
The decision to hire an AOR represents "an elevated commitment to PR as a marketing tactic," she said. "We feel that PR is one of our strongest levers."
Kettle markets the top-selling natural potato chip in both natural foods stores and mainline supermarkets. It wants PR to help it expand beyond its core consumer group of dedicated natural-food buyers. To do that, Maxwell will work "to connect the Kettle brand with flavor," said Jennifer Maxwell-Muir, a principal at the agency.
Maxwell plans to use media relations and sampling events starting in the Pacific Northwest and then spreading down the West Coast.
The firm has put together a flavor wheel that pairs various foods and beverages that it will display at samplings and for media, Maxwell-Muir said. It will have a two-to-three-person team working on the account.