MIDDLEBORO, MA: Ocean Spray has expanded Weber Shandwick's responsibilities to include b-to-b PR work for its Ingredient Technology Group following an RFP for that portion of its business.
Weber, which has served as AOR for Ocean Spray's branded consumer-facing business since 2000, was chosen because of its experience and working relationship with the company, as well as its global presence, said Tom Hogan, directing of marketing and sales for the group.
He cited the firm's “depth and bench strength around the world.”
“It was a natural evolution for the partnership to expand globally with Ocean Spray and their business-to-business side,” said Dorree Gurdak, SVP and client relationship lead for the Ocean Spray account at Weber.
Ocean Spray invited US agencies with international reach to the pitch for the business, then narrowed it to two finalists, said Hogan. He declined to reveal the other agencies in the review or the division's UK-based incumbent.
Ocean Spray's b-to-b division, which creates cranberry products for businesses and multinationals in 54 countries, has tasked Weber with helping it with its “aggressive expansion plan” around the world, Hogan said.
Gurdak, who is based in Boston, and Minneapolis-based JoDee George, the leader of Weber's farm and food advocacy practice, will work on the account with a team of 10 staffers across the US. The global account team is being assigned, Gurdak said.
It is understood that Ocean Spray's Ingredient Technology Group had worked with Barrett Dixon Bell.
Weber will work with the Ocean Spray division to increase awareness and educate businesses it supplies about the benefits of cranberries and why Ocean Spray should be their supplier. Hogan said getting more companies to use Ocean Spray cranberries in their products introduces more customers to cranberries, even in parts of the world where Ocean Spray does not sell branded products.
Using a variety of PR tactics, the firm will work to grow Ocean Spray's business in what it has flagged as “high potential” markets, such as China, Turkey, and the Middle East, said Hogan.
“We're really going to be focusing on the whole body health benefits of the cranberry and sharing the health story, because we know in a lot of emerging markets where people don't know as much about the cranberry, that's something that resonates both with food manufacturers, as well as consumers,” explained Gurdak.
Hogan said the division has not engaged in social media much in the past, but will incorporate it into its efforts moving forward.
Weber, which set up Ocean Spray's social media assets on the consumer side a few years ago and has had a “a lot of success” with it, plans on partnering with the Ingredient Technology Group in the same way, said Gurdak.