Droga5 No Longer Chobani's Lead Agency as Brand Brings Marketing In-House

Moving From an AOR Model to More Project-Based Agency Work

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Droga5 will no longer be the lead creative agency for Chobani greek yogurt, a move that comes as the company brings much of its marketing in-house.

The company will occasionally tap agencies for project work, though a spokesman did not provide detail on Droga's fate and would only say that no doors are permanently closed for the shop. One person familiar with the matter said that Droga doesn't have Chobani work lined up after it completes its next project.

"We're fortunate to have great agencies who have partnered with us at different stages of our growth," Chobani said in a statement to Ad Age. "Recently, we decided to change our approach and move from an AOR model to more in-house and project-based agency partners."

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Droga5 has been working with Chobani since 2013, when the brand tapped Droga for creative and Weber Shandwick for PR, and created work including the 2014 Super Bowl spot above. Droga and Weber Shandwick were named to the roster just two months after Peter McGuinness, who had been running DDB Chicago, was named Chobani's chief marketing and brand officer. Chobani also works with a number of other agencies, including GMR, Mars and OMD.

Spokespeople for Droga5 did not respond to requests for comment.

Though the company is moving to a more project-based model for its agencies, people familiar with the matter said that it's enlisting a new shop as well. New York-based OppermanWeiss will be working with the company across various channels, these people said.

Mr. McGuinness has a connection to the founders of OppermanWeiss, Paul Opperman and Jeff Weiss. All three had stints at McCann's Momentum, and Mr. McGuinness was a senior executive at McCann, which also housed AmsterYard, a shop founded by Mr. Weiss and Mr. Opperman.

Discussions of whether the agency-of-record model is on the decline have increased heavily in the last year, particularly after Mondelez marketing executive Dana Anderson posed the question in a Wall Street Journal editorial: "Is the agency of record concept DOA"?

Prior to Droga's appointment, Chobani had cycled through a number of shops in just a few years, including Boathouse, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Gotham.

Chobani in 2014 spent close to $56 million on U.S. measured media from January through November, according to Kantar Media. In 2013, it spent $30 million and in 2012 it spent $46 million.

Contributing: Alexandra Bruell, Malika Toure

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