The Martin Agency Replaces Cool Whip with Hummus

As Kraft brand leaves, Sabra arrives

Three weeks after Kraft moved to shift its Cool Whip brand out of The Martin Agency, the shop replaced the hole in its cupboard with Sabra dips and spreads.

Martin, a unit of Interpublic Group, is now lead creative agency for the Sabra Dipping Co., succeeding StrawberryFrog in New York. The company's media spending approaches $15 million a year.

StrawberryFrog had handled the business since 2008, when Sabra had a 10 percent share of the refrigerated flavored spreads market. Today, however, the brand is a leader in the category, accounting for more than 60 percent all sales. Beyond hummus, Sabra sells salsa, guacamole and a yogurt vegetable dip.

Ah, but in September the company installed a new CEO—Shali Shalit-Shoval succeeded Ronen Zahar—and decided to play the field, launching an agency search that resulted in the hiring of Martin. StrawberryFrog, a unit of Apco Worldwide, defended and was among a handful of finalists for the business, according to sources.

In selecting Martin, Sabra director of marketing Eric Greifenberger cited the shop's "keen understanding of our consumer, the fresh dips category, and Sabra's brand potential," adding that it provides a "depth and breadth of talent uniquely suited for supporting our needs going forward." Martin CEO Matt Williams, in turn, described Sabra as an "amazing brand."

The creative shift has no impact on Sabra's other roster shops, which include OMD (media planning and buying), Colangelo (shopper marketing), Shared Experiences (event marketing) and Seymour Public Relations.

StrawberryFrog CEO Scott Goodson is proud of his shop's role in helping Sabra achieve a "formidable leadership market position," but acknowledged that "with new company leadership, it's not at all unusual for change to be a part of their formula for success." Optimistically, he added, "We look forward to applying our abilities to the next food brand looking to enjoy the same growth trajectory as Sabra."