Chobani scoops up Edelman as PR AOR, replacing Weber

Interpublic Group's Weber Shandwick had been Chobani's AOR since September 2013, having taken over from Omnicom's FleishmanHillard.

Image via Chobani's Twitter page
Image via Chobani's Twitter page

NORWICH, NY: Greek yogurt brand Chobani has scooped up Edelman as its PR agency of record.

An Edelman spokesperson confirmed that the firm is now Chobani’s AOR, effective March 1. Further comment was not provided.

"Recently, we’ve looked to bring even more work in-house across the marketing organization and made the decision to switch our agency relationship to Edelman effective this month—an agency that brings a wealth of experience and passion for our brand and shares our independent, founder-led spirit as a company," Michael Gonda, VP, corporate communications and public affairs at Chobani, told PRWeek via email.

Weber Shandwick, the incumbent, has been Chobani’s AOR since September 2013. Gonda explained the yogurt company is "grateful" for the work Weber has done, such as helping it launch more product platforms than at any other point in its history through "impactful, creative" consumer marketing campaigns.

"At the same time, [with Weber] we’ve underscored the values and philosophy of our company through earned coverage that told the story of the people who make our products," Gonda added.  

A Weber rep was not immediately available for comment.

Before Weber, FleishmanHillard served as Chobani's AOR for nearly four years.

At the start of 2012, Edelman launched a standalone agency after winning Kellogg’s business to avoid potential client conflicts, particularly those with Quaker Oats, which now works with FleishmanHillard. The spinoff agency, which worked exclusively with Kellogg, was first named The K Group Public Relations Company and then Krispr. Edelman’s website lists Kellogg as Krispr’s client, noting that it works with the Special K, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies, Morningstar Farms, and Cheez-it brands.

Chobani launched in 2007 in New York State. With more than $1 billion in annual sales, it has become one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.

Chobani expanded Gonda’s role as comms head to include public affairs last August. He has been VP of corporate comms since he joined the company in September 2014 from Weber, where he was a VP.

In the fall, Chobani hired its first director of sustainability and public affairs, Nathan Streed; and earlier in 2016, Jason Rahlan, director of executive and philanthropic communications, joined Chobani from the Human Rights Campaign, where he was comms director.

Additionally, in 2015, Blair Aires, senior manager, corporate comms, joined Chobani from Edelman; Jeff Genung was promoted to senior manager, leading community engagement and internal communications in upstate New York; and Alyson Outen was hired to lead community engagement and internal comms in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Last summer, CMO Peter McGuinness outlined to PRWeek Chobani's plan to get Americans to eat as much yogurt as Europeans do.

Chobani launched its product in Mexico last year and brought on Boden to help develop its PR strategy in the market.

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