Hershey Will Add to Its Roster of Creative Agencies

Ready to expand beyond Arnold, Havas

The Hershey Co. has launched a search to expand its agency roster beyond Arnold and Havas Worldwide.

The confectionery giant is in the early stages of meeting with agencies, confirmed Anna Lingeris, senior manager, brand public relations and consumer engagement at Hershey.

"We're not looking to replace Arnold and Havas, which have been doing a great job," she said. "But we have over 20 advertised brands, and we're looking to supplement."

Lingeris said the search is focused on U.S. contenders, but given that some of them have global networks, the parameters of the expanded-roster assignments could become global. The company has made global growth a major priority, especially in markets like China.

While worldwide media spending was not immediately available, in the U.S. alone Hershey spent more than $650 million in 2013 and $565 million in the first nine months of last year, according to Kantar Media.

Lingeris also didn't know yet how many new agencies could be brought on board or how brand assignments at Arnold and Havas would be shifted once additional shops are retained. Hershey is not using a consultant in the process, and Lingeris said the search has already been winnowed to a group of contenders.

Hershey's U.S. account, which Arnold New York won in 2005, is the office's largest client, accounting for some 40 percent to 50 percent of revenue, sources said. Havas Worldwide has handled digital and a considerable amount of global business.

Hershey has been reviewing its communications relationships with partners in recent years. In late 2012, the marketer launched a media agency review, with that business shifting the following year to Interpublic Group's UM. Last summer, Hershey completed a PR agency review, signing up a number of firms after previously working with agencies on a project basis.