The guys behind "What your mom would serve you if your mom were a man" for Mars' Combos are taking on pretzels and chips.
Barton F. Graf 9000 creative chief Gerry Graf and agency executive creative directors Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal will now apply their off-kilter sensibilities to four Snyder's-Lance brands: Cape Cod potato chips, Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Pretzel Crisps and Lance crackers. Collectively, the brands spend about $15 million in media annually.
The assignment came after a review in which there were three other finalists: Taxi, The Burns Group and GKV, the incumbent on Snyder's, Cape Cod and Lance, according to Rodrigo Troni, chief marketing officer at Snyder's-Lance in Charlotte, N.C. (Pretzel Crisps previously didn't have a lead agency.) Richard Helstein of Creative Focus in Darien, Conn. helped manage the search.
The hire comes as Troni rethinks all aspects of marketing. Snyder's-Lance just hired agencies to lead social media and public relations efforts for the four brands (Tenthwave and Luquire George Andrews, respectively) and is seeking a media shop to replace GKV. The media search has three finalists and is expected to conclude next month. Snyder's-Lance also engaged package design company 3TC Design early last year.
Notwithstanding the creative plaudits that Graf, Vitrone and Reichenthal received for their bizarro Combos ads at TBWA\Chiat\Day from 2006 to 2008, Troni cited the homespun charm of Barton F. Graf 9000's work for Ragú as an example of work that put the shop on his initial consideration list. Troni also knew of Graf from the marketing executive's years at Pinnacle Foods, as Pinnacle CEO Bob Gamgort used to run Mars in North America.
In the pitch, Troni asked the contenders to forge a strategic positioning for Lance, a popular but lesser-known brand in the company's portfolio. What he liked most about Barton F. Graf 9000's pitch was that agency execs turned key insights about the category into "one big product truth. And we used that truth, which was the laddering up of all the insights, to then say from there, 'We can go to something that is truly differentiated about this product.'"
The new agency's first work is expected in the third quarter of the year.
Even before Snyder's-Lance approached the shop, Graf had done his research. On regular family trips from New York City to Vermont, he stops midway at a Shell station in Holyoke, Mass. to buy snacks. The family favorites? Snyder's cheddar pretzel sandwiches and honey mustard pieces. Now it's time to put those sense memories to work.