General Mills Launches a Closed U.S. Creative Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Food production giant General Mills has launched a closed review across all of its creative and content agencies in the United States.

The client, as per its usual practices, is not being particularly forthcoming. From a spokesperson:

“As a standing practice we do not comment on details of agency reviews. However, we can confirm that General Mills has embarked on a closed review of its creative and production/content agencies in the U.S. We have a responsibility to ensure we have the right agency partners to continue growing our business and agency reviews are a routine part of running a successful business today.”


GM’s main American agencies are Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann. The former has been working with the company for decades, but it has lost several brands to other shops in the past few years: McCann picked up Pillsbury in 2013; W+K won Yoplait last year; 72andSunny has been AOR for Totino’s since May 2015, when Fallon also won Old El Paso; JWT recently scored Häagen-Dazs (which is co-owned by Nestle and GM), debuting its first work in New York this April.

It’s not clear at this time which shops will be participating in this review, though GM’s statement certainly implies that all of its brands will be affected. Reps for all 6 agencies mentioned in the list above declined to comment or did not respond to our emails today.

One thing, however, is very clear: General Mills wants to cut expenses. Last week, the company announced plans to eliminate more than 1,400 jobs in the U.S., China and Brazil in order to better compete with such rivals as Mondelez. It has also cut its overall marketing spend: according to Kantar Media, its totals were $850 million in 2014, $700 million in 2015 and $186 million in the first quarter of this year.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told us that the closed creative review would probably include McCann, Saatchi and an unnamed WPP agency. There’s some disagreement on that point, though: Another source tells us that Fallon will be the Publicis agency.

More to come.

[Pic via CBS Minnesota]