Big Agency Shakeup at Kraft

By Patrick Coffee Comment

KRAFT

This morning we received a couple of tips claiming that a New York agency was losing its Kraft business. But the story is much bigger than that.

We’re still waiting for the official statement from Kraft’s PR department, but a report from Crain’s via AdAge lays out the winners and the losers…and there are a lot of losers.

Moving forward, the multi-headed hydra of a corporation and its many individual brands will work with only four creative agencies: mcgarrybowen, Leo Burnett, Taxi and CP+B.

Full list of agencies that will be losing business after the jump.

  • Droga5
  • VSA
  • TBWA
  • The Martin Agency
  • Lopez Negrete Communications
  • Roberts & Langer
  • Wieden & Kennedy

No agency contacts have responded to our queries, but Kraft’s head of communications (who we could not reach before deadline) did offer an extended comment:

“When we became an independent company two years ago, we found ourselves with a rich agency roster filled with best-in-class partners…we have been reviewing opportunities to right-size and right-cast our agency roster to more appropriately suit our communication needs.”

Here’s the big BUT:

“…a roster this size prevents us from nurturing the types of relationships critical to building, deep and long-standing brand partnerships.”

Then there was something about strategic alignment, etc. and a key fact: Kraft chose the winners, in part, based on geography. The company is based in Chicago, which means that mcgarrybowen and Leo Burnett are “right in [its] backyard.” Here’s the concluding statement from Kraft:

“While we believe this is the right move for Kraft and we look forward to building and expanding on these four relationships, it is still difficult to exit partnerships we value and trust.”

We expect quite a few staffing changes to follow.

UPDATE: We just heard from Kraft’s communications department. From the extended statement:

“…we are consolidating our agency roster to four (4) agencies: mcgarrybowen, Leo Burnett, Taxi, CP+B/Union (Canada) (not counting some digital agencies)

This consolidation gives Kraft a number of opportunities.

First, we can align our brands more strategically with the particular strengths of agencies on our roster. Brands will also lever North American synergies and category expertise where it makes sense (e.g. TAXI on Maxwell House and Gevalia, MiO)…

We are still making some decisions on what agencies will work on exactly which brands.”

The “not counting some digital agencies” part of the statement concerns Razorfish, 360i and Evolution Bureau. Kraft amended its initial confirmation to clarify that these agencies would still be working with the company in some capacity.

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