Fage Yogurt Moves to Mullen

Shift From Ogilvy Comes as Category Ramps Up

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- As Greek yogurt continues to gain popularity with U.S. consumers, Fage is shifting marketing duties to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Mullen from WPP's Ogilvy, New York.

Family-run Fage is Greece's largest dairy company and its wholly-owned Fage USA Dairy Industry unit in the U.S. launched a yogurt production facility in upstate New York. Mullen will handle a range of marketing activities for the brand including strategic brand planning, media planning and buying, digital marketing and creative development.

Representatives for Ogilvy, which was awarded U.S. agency of record duties in 2007, declined to comment.

"We showed them some bold thinking across a broad array of channels that intrigued them and gave them the confidence that we can help them achieve their vision for the brand in the U.S.," Joe Grimaldi, president-CEO of Mullen, told Ad Age. He added that new work is not expected to break till next year.

Mullen, which also has hubs in Detroit, Pittsburgh and North Carolina, adds Fage to a roster of clients that include Zappos, JetBlue, General Motors, Olympus, Timberland, and Alberto Culver's Tresemme.

U.S. consumers have embraced the Greek-style of thicker yogurt, and several brands in the category appear to be ramping up their advertising activities of late. Among them are Kraft-owned brand Athenos, which just named Droga5 its new agency two weeks ago, and Chobani, a national brand whose agency is Gotham, a Mullen sibling within under Interpublic.

Measured media spend for Fage has historically been small, but it appears to be growing. For full-year 2009, Fage spent $5 million in domestic measured media, according to Kantar Media, but it spent the same amount between January and August of 2010.

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