We Hear: Hershey’s Business Starts to Sour for Arnold?

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in January, the chocolate giant Hershey’s surprised some in the industry by launching a creative review.

Hershey’s has been with Boston-based Arnold Worldwide since 2005, when Ogilvy & Mather resigned the account due to a conflict with Kraft Foods.

This most recent review ended in April with the sweets company adding three new agencies to its roster: Anomaly, Kansas City’s Barkley and Argonaut of San Francisco. When the news broke, the client told various trade pubs that the new agencies had been brought aboard for “strategic project work” and that Arnold/Havas, which did not participate in the review, would continue to work with the brand. A spokesperson said the new shops were “not a replacement…just an addition.”

That may have been true at the time, but more changes have taken place since then. Michael Lanzi, who has been global managing director on the Hershey’s account since last May, will soon leave the agency. Arnold declined to comment, but Lanzi confirmed that he will depart in September after seven years with the organization.

Lanzi’s new position will be announced shortly; in his absence, Arnold New York president Peter Grossman will handle the Hershey’s account until the agency finds a successor. Sources claim that Arnold has already begun interviewing candidates to replace Lanzi.

Hershey’s also made a big change this summer, bringing in a new CMO in the form of Peter Horst. Prior to making the move, Horst spent more than 12 years with the Capital One Financial Corporation, serving as SVP of brand marketing. (Capital One currently works with Mullen Lowe, another Boston-based agency.)

Additionally, several sources claim that Arnold has no specific Hershey’s work currently in production, which means it may have to scramble to whip up the requisite Halloween confections that have become a seasonal tradition for candy brands. It should be noted that Arnold is still a roster shop and is expected to present fresh ideas to the client on its various brands.

UPDATE: A Hershey’s representative reiterated the fact that Arnold remains a roster agency and continues to develop ads for the brand without going into detail about what the shop is working on at the moment.

Adweek’s David Gianatasio contributed to this post.