BFG9000 Lands Unilever Food Brands

Ragú, Bertolli among the new accounts

Gerry Graf’s startup agency is not looking so small anymore. Barton F. Graf 9000 has won six Unilever U.S. food brands: Ragú, Bertolli, Skippy, Wish-Bone, P.F. Chang’s and new Mexican line Caliente.

WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather handled Ragú and Wish-Bone while IPG’s McCann Erickson was the creative lead on Bertolli and P.F. Chang's. Measured media spending in 2011, excluding Caliente, was $43.3 million, according to Nielsen. Half of that amount, $22.7 million, was spent in support of Rag pasta sauces. Those amounts do not include internet or business-to-business spending.     

The business moved to BFG9000, founded two years ago, after a review in February.

During the pitch, BFG9000 was given a Ragú Facebook project in which the agency featured its characteristically quirky humor in “Spaghetti Braids,” where kids nibble the pasta braids their mother has woven into her hair. The video used the tag: "Mom’s Favorite For A Reason." Taking cues about picky young eaters from fans on Ragú’s Facebook page, the agency subsequently wrote, shot and posted several additional online videos over the course of 24 hours last March, having lined up a Long Island kitchen and directors in advance.

The shift of the brand follows the appointment of Mike Dwyer as Unilever's new U.S. foods director. Dwyer had previously been marketing director, U.S. deodorants and Axe brand development director, North America.

Last summer, Barney Robinson, the managing director of Axe agency BBH N.Y., joined BFG9000 as president. In addition, Wieden + Kennedy copywriter Eric Kallman, most recently known for this award-winning “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” work for Axe competitor Old Spice, joined BFG9000 last year. Kallman and Graf earlier worked together at TBWA\Chiat\Day on campaigns for Skittles and Starburst. BFG9000’s other clients include online travel search site Kayak and Dish Network.

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