CONCORD, MA: Welch's hired Porter Novelli as its AOR, following a competitive review that began early this summer.
Jackie Alosso, associate marketing manager of PR and advertising at Welch's, told PRWeek, “We are excited to partner with the Porter Novelli team to leverage PR as a strategic component of our marketing mix and as a communications vehicle to drive and enhance consumer awareness of our core message platforms.”
The agency, from its Boston, New York, and Washington offices, will work on US consumer and crisis communications. It will work with the brand's other marketing agencies on executing integrated campaigns and developing social media programs, she explained.
Kiki McLean, partner and MD of Porter Novelli's Washington office, added that the agency will focus on the brand's heritage and messaging about its health benefits. "It's a brand around family farming, and they have a great heart-healthy story," she added.
In July, Alosso told PRWeek that the scope of work in the RFP would include a heightened focus on using PR and health professional partnerships to educate consumers about the health benefits of the Concord and Niagara grapes used by Welch's, as well as a focus on its "rich heritage as an American brand."
At the time, she said that the company was reviewing eight agencies. She confirmed that the brand later added two agencies via recommendations, and narrowed the review down to three agencies in mid-August. When the brand's new CMO, Matthew Wohl, joined Welch's on September 1, Alosso said the company "slowed down the process so he could have his influence in choosing an agency."
Incumbent Tonic Life received the RFP, but declined to participate, said Maryellen Royle, North American president of Tonic Life. Alosso said that the agency will continue to work on PR for the brand in the UK, where it has been a client for a number years.
Welch's is the processing and marketing subsidiary of the National Grape Cooperative, and is owned by 1,150 family-farmers across America and in Ontario, Canada.