Stonyfield Appoints Its First Creative Agency of Record as Yogurt Wars Heat Up

GYK Antler previously worked on its Brown Cow brand

As the battle for yogurt market share continues, Stonyfield has selected its first creative agency of record.

Manchester, N.H.-based independent agency GYK Antler will now serve in the role for all of Stonyfield’s brands, including Stonyfield, Stonyfield YoBaby, Stonyfield YoKids and Brown Cow.

Earlier this month, Danone announced the sale of Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875 million.

GYK Antler has worked on Stonyfield’s Brown Cow brand for around six months, during which time Stonyfield also worked with other agencies on a project basis. GYK Antler president and CEO Travis York described the period to Adweek as an “unintended trial run” as both agency and client realized its approach “would scale up” to its full roster of brands.

Stonyfield will now consolidate the majority of its campaign work with GYK Antler as it transitions to its new ownership, although it may also maintain other existing agency relationships.

York added that GYK Antler is “comfortable playing with others” but also has the “capability to handle anything the client needs.”

“We admire the creative work GYK Antler does for food and CPG brands, and believe that their deep expertise in this category will take our company a long way as we enter our next chapter,” Stonyfield CMO Linda Lee said in a statement. “We also love their entrepreneurial spirit that aligns with our brand, as well as their agile, flexible model that allows for hands-on collaboration. We’re very excited to work with them full time and expand our creative footprint.”

York described the agency’s challenge as helping the brand rediscover its roots.

“We’re ultimately trying to figure out how to embrace the legacy aspects that made Stonyfield, Stonyfield early on,” he said.

He explained that the brand began as Stonyfield Farm, primarily as a way to help “an organic farm in New Hampshire that couldn’t figure out how to financially sustain itself” pay the bills.

The yogurt brand caught on as an early entrant to the organic category. Since then, the organic distinction has become somewhat ubiquitous, while Stonyfield was sold to Danone, then Lactalis, and faces an increasingly crowded market.

York believes the agency can help the brand “maintain its independent sprit while riding the benefits of a larger corporation.”

GYK Antlers’ first campaign as Stonyfield’s creative agency of record is expected some time in the late fall, but the agency plans to roll out a much larger effort for the brand early next year.

Stonyfield spent $7.6 million on measured media in 2015 and $3.8 million in 2016, according to Kantar Media.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.