Sargento Foods names Ogilvy PR AOR

Ogilvy is also the cheese company's creative AOR.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

PLYMOUTH, WI: Cheese company Sargento Foods has chosen Ogilvy as its PR AOR.

Sargento’s decision brings communications and creative duties for the company under the same roof. Ogilvy has been Sargento’s creative AOR since 2014, and that relationship will continue, an Ogilvy representative told PRWeek.

Ogilvy won the seven-figure PR brief, which includes both corporate and marketing PR, following a competitive review that started two months ago.

Corporate PR duties include issue and crisis management, employee engagement, media relations, stakeholder communications, and CEO positioning. For marketing PR, Ogilvy will handle experiential, media relations and partnerships, creative, and influencer marketing.

Ogilvy has been tasked with running comms for an upcoming product launch, but Michele Anderson, the agency’s head of PR and influence, declined to break out details.

Golin, the incumbent, served as PR AOR for eight years. At the time Golin won the business, the account budget was in the upper six-figures. A Golin representative wasn’t immediately available for comment.

For Anderson, the account win validates Ogilvy’s long-delayed process to streamline its disparate operations into a single entity. As a result of that process, Ogilvy dismantled its advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, its customer engagement specialist Ogilvy One, and Ogilvy Public Relations. The company simplified its brand to Ogilvy in June.

"When these kinds of RFPs come up, we already have a link into the creative and brand side," Anderson said. "It’s a great opportunity for us to test the ‘next chapter’ model and that’s exactly what we did."

The pitch brought together the PR and creative teams, with PR strategists working with brand planners and strategists.

A team of 15 Ogilvy staffers participated in the pitch. While Chicago will lead the account, the pitch team brought in a New York staffer to provide employee engagement expertise, two Washington, DC, staffers for public affairs and issues and crisis management, and one Atlanta staffer for food brands.

SRI Consultants conducted the "rigorous" RFP process, which included written submissions, video, and a chemistry session, Anderson said. Eventually, SRI narrowed the field down to three finalists, who went to Sargento’s headquarters in Plymouth, Wisconsin, for a final presentation.

Chip Schuman, SVP of marketing and consumer products at Sargento, said in a statement that the company was looking for an agency with proficiencies in marketing comms, corporate comm, and crisis preparedness and management. The company was also seeking an agency that can work with other agencies to create fully integrated marketing plans.

"We believe we found that partner with Ogilvy," said Schuman, who has been with the company since 2003. "They impressed us with their strategic thinking, relevant experience, and creativity in all three areas of the pitch."

On the branding side, Ogilvy reports to Schuman, while the PR team reports to Portia Young, Sargento’s director of corporate comms. The account team also has a dotted line to Michael Pellegrino, Sargento president and chief growth officer, and CEO Louie Gentine.

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