ConAgra Moves Business From DDB San Francisco to DDB Chicago

By Erik Oster 

ConAgra has moved its brand work that had been with DDB San Francisco to that agency’s Chicago office without a review.

The client, which also relocated from Omaha to Chicago last year, was reportedly impressed with the We Are Unlimited model that a DDB-led team used to win McDonald’s back in August.

“DDB North America has outlined a future-forward agency model powered by DDB Chicago, partnering with Annalect and Sparks & Honey, designed to move our business forward,” ConAgra Brands chief growth officer Darren Serrao said in a statement. “The time is right to recalibrate our agency/client partnership so that we can work more fluidly and effectively. DDB Chicago’s close proximity is also a plus for us.”

“We quickly assembled a team using the blueprint around the thinking we did for McDonald’s,” DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark told Adweek. “In a matter of weeks, we put together something that looks revolutionary to the business. This is not a lift and shift, but a blueprint we can follow.”

Clark visited San Francisco to deliver the news in person this week, and the press release states that it will “impact” 10-20 employees in that office without elaborating. Clark said that DDB S.F. will focus more on Silicon Valley clients moving forward, and as an example she cited an upcoming campaign for client The Pacific Gas and Electric Company that will promote green energy initiatives in California.

DDB San Francisco has handled ConAgra’s major brands since a consolidation in 2013 and began working on ConAgra’s Banquet brand in 2004.

ConAgra counts Slim Jim, Hebrew National, Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher’s, Jiffy Pop, Hunt’s, PAM, Peter Pan and Wesson among its roster. Kantar Media puts its annual spend across the portfolio at around $125 million.

DDB handles 10-12 of those brands, and Norwalk’s Match Marketing has been agency of record for several others including Manwich, Orville Redenbacher, Slim Jim, Alexia, Hunt’s, Hebrew National, Peter Pan, Healthy Choice and David’s Seeds. Match was not involved in the recent discussions, which did not affect its relationship with ConAgra.

The Chicago office of DDB has already begun working on an unspecified brief.