Camp + King Snaps Up AOR Duties for Purpose-Led DTC Unicorn Grove Collaborative

Natural household and personal care company is valued at about $1.32 billion

Camp + King is Grove Collaborative's first-ever AOR. Grove Collaborative / Camp + King

As Camp + King slogged its way to the finish line of 2020, a new opportunity popped up. The suitor was Grove Collaborative, a DTC natural household and personal care company based in the agency’s hometown of San Francisco—looking for an agency of record.

According to co-founder and CCO Roger Camp, everyone at Camp + King was “just truly exhausted.” But, in talking to all of the junior partners and seeing that Grove could be a unique opportunity, the Havas-owned shop put its foot back down on the gas to the delight of the brand’s CMO, Lilian Tomovich.

She had initially contacted 16 agencies, with 11 returning her call, according to Tomovich. From there, the list was whittled down to four or five, but she found that Camp + King to be that kindred spirit wrapped in an agency she feels can help her and Grove enter the next phase of growth. As such, Camp + King was named Grove Collaborative’s first-ever agency of record.

Grove was founded in 2012 by Stuart Landesberg and sells a range of well-known lines like Seventh Generation, Method and Mrs. Meyer’s. But it also developed its own line of natural household and personal care products.

2021 stands to be a big year for the B Corp-certified brand. Grove Collaborative reached unicorn status, with a valuation of $1 billion, in September 2019. According to Tomovich, the brand sits at $1.32 billion after another round of funding and is ripe for the broader market to get to know the company.

“2021 is going to be our breakout year,” said Tomovich, noting that bringing on Camp + King was necessary to “position for the future and develop breakout work” that hopefully catapults Grove to becoming “the next P&G of natural beauty and home care products.”

Grove is ambitious and has loads of potential. By the numbers, over 2 million customers have purchased from the platform, and the compounded annual growth rate sits at an eye-popping 160%, with a 4,500% growth rate since 2016. The performance landed Grove at No. 51 on Inc.’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

According to Jamie King, Camp + King co-founder and CEO, “there are over 20 million people in the sweet spot who want to behave and create a household that is more sustainable, has less of an impact on the environment, and yet still wants high-quality products.”

Indeed, one of Grove’s biggest bona fides is that it is 100% plastic neutral, the only CPG company that can make that claim, according to Tomovich. The next goal is to be plastic-free by 2025, and the company’s sustainability page outlines the path forward. Grove’s packaging is moving toward more reliably recyclable materials like glass and aluminum, and it has asked all third-party brands that sell on its site to match their goal and be plastic-free within the next four years.

“If they’d like to participate in our marketplace, they need to be plastic-free by 2025,” said Tomovich.

Formerly chief experience and marketing officer at MGM Resorts and a senior marketer at Mastercard for nine years, Tomovich noted the importance of working for a company with purpose at its core.

“There are companies where purpose is sort of an afterthought, coming up with pithy statements about making the world a better place,” Tomovich said. “But Stu [Landesberg} really wants to lead the CPG industry and be a force for good.”

In terms of what Camp + King will bring to the brand to get it to the next level, Tomovich is confident that working with a founder-led agency that’s consistently part of the process is a huge plus.

@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
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