BASKING RIDGE, NJ: Arla Foods, the European dairy company and cooperative, has appointed Carmichael Lynch Spong as AOR for integrated marketing to support its US growth plans.
Carmichael has been tasked with raising awareness and growing sales of the company's specialty cheese brands Castello and Arla Dofino.
It is the first time Arla has worked with an agency in the US. Carmichael won the business in January after being issued an RFP and has been contracted to work for each brand for the next year.
The agency went up against two other undisclosed firms in a competitive pitch for the business.
Arla, which entered the US market in 1988, has embarked on a few “minor” marketing initiatives in the past, but nothing “truly strategic” based on category trends and micro and macro trends, said Don Stohrer, Jr., VP of marketing at Arla Foods US.
“We have been doing a lot of work in developing our strategy,” he added. “It is about really recognizing the unmet needs of the consumer in one of the world's largest cheese markets.”
The company will roll out integrated marketing campaigns for the cheese brands in February. The initiatives will include brand strategy, media planning and buying, experiential consumer activations, media relations, social media and digital, and influencer marketing.
Stohrer said that Arla, the world's fifth largest dairy company, has “core brand and corporate values around the environment, sustainability, and doing business in the highest ethical manner” that helps differentiate it from the competition.
“In general, the specialty cheese market here is not very branded. People buying it are looking for a specific type of cheese, but don't necessarily shop by brand, so the biggest challenge is to convert shoppers to think about brand, not just type,” said Grete Lavrenz, senior principal and chair of the food and beverage practice at Carmichael Lynch Spong.
The forthcoming brand campaigns are aimed at different audiences. For Castello, the campaign will target “foodie idealists” and will include influencer marketing from celebrity chefs. Arla Dofino will focus more on families and will tie into Arla's overall “closer to nature” brand positioning, said Grete.
In addition to Castello and Dofino, other Arla brands sold in the US include Lurpak, Apetina, Denmark's Finest, and Rosenborg.