Droga5 Snags Method Account

Maker of Household Products Has Small Budget, but Growing Market Presence

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) – The tony, design-centric Method brand today named Droga5, New York, as its agency of record, even as the marketer continues to look for a new CEO.*

The independent creative boutique is the latest big-name agency to lay claim to the high-profile if small-budget assignment, which generally has had media spending under $1 million a year.

Back from hiatus
The account had been dormant since late last year after Method parted ways with Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa Del Rey, Calif., a spokeswoman said in a statement. In late 2006, TBWA succeeded Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, which was the first agency to handle the account.

"In the past year, we shifted away from large-scale advertising and focused on earned media programs developed by our in-house creative team, like our 'Detox Your City' program we conducted in key cities across the country," the spokeswoman said, explaining the prior departure of TBWA a year after it won the assignment.

It's not just agencies Method has parted with lately. Alastair Dorward, who had been CEO for more than seven years, left the San Francisco-based company in August. He followed Francesca Schuler, VP-brand, who left in May. Neither position has been filled yet, the Method spokeswoman said. The marketer said it is not seeking to fill the marketing role. Mr. Dorward and Ms. Schuler couldn't be reached for comment by deadline.

Campaign due in early '09
Method awarded Droga5 the creative assignment without a review to create a new marketing campaign to break early next year. "Droga5 is a dynamic agency that is known for taking traditional advertising initiatives and turning them upside down," Eric Ryan, chairman and co-founder of Method said in a statement. "We share the same passion and dedication to creating innovative and unique experiences for people, and we are thrilled to be partnering with such a talented team."

"Method has built an amazing brand in such a short period of time," Droga5 Creative Chairman David Droga said in the statement. "They're clearly destined for even further greatness."

As Method continues its CEO search, Method board member Dan Swander is acting as interim CEO. Mr. Swander previously started his own consulting firm, Swander Pace & Co., and served as chief operating officer of two food companies.

Market share increases
You'd expect this much personnel and agency turnover for a business facing tough times, but that doesn't appear to be the case for Method. According to Information Resources Inc. data, the brand had sales of more than $84 million across its far-flung household and personal-care categories and had gained share in almost all of them in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 7. That doesn't count Costco, another retailer where Method has had a growing presence in the past year.

Method did, however, apparently fall short in a bid to cash out on its success earlier this year. People familiar with the matter said the company was up for sale as its backers sought a payday similar to that of Burt's Bees, which went for a heady multiple of more than five times sales to Clorox Co. last year. The Method spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the company had been for sale, but said it's not now.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Method, in addition to seeking a new chief executive, was also looking for a new top marketer. The marketer said it is not looking to fill that post.