Droga5's Chobani win was hard fought, given the caliber of the agencies that the yogurt company considered.
The runner-up was The Martin Agency and Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Wieden + Kennedy competed in an earlier round. The search for a lead creative agency began in June.
The incumbent, Boathouse, in Boston, was hired in February and invited to participate in the review but declined. Ark Advisors in New York helped manage the process.
In addition to Droga5, Chobani also tapped Weber Shandwick for public relations and social strategy. Fleishman Hillard, the incumbent on the business, also was a finalist along with MSLGroup. Chobani is currently grappling with image problems in the wake of a recall of its yogurt because of mold contamination earlier this month and subsequent FDA reports of consumers becoming sick from the company’s products.
Chobani has churned through agencies since it first launched marketing communications efforts in 2009. Included among them was Gotham, which was then run by Peter McGuinness, who joined the yogurt company this summer as chief marketing and brand officer after serving as CEO at DDB Chicago. Before Chobani's most recent agency, Boathouse, the brand had been handled by Leo Burnett for a year.
Droga5 is tasked with creating a stronger category differentiation for the industry pioneering brand, as deeper-pocketed competitors like Danone and General Mills gain share, and the agency will also be launching new Chobani products in the 2014-2015 pipeline.
Sources said Chobani is also looking at its digital agency resources, currently handled by Big Spaceship. "Should a digital agency be hired or should it be loaded under the new agency? Either way, the status quo is unacceptable," said a source.