Kraft Consolidates Agencies With McGarryBowen, Leo Burnett, CP&B and Taxi

Move to 'More Appropriately Suit Our Communication Needs'

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CORRECTION: Because of information provided by Kraft, an earlier version of this article erroneously said Razorfish, 360i and Evolution Bureau were leaving the Kraft roster. They will continue to work for Kraft.

Kraft Foods Group is paring down its sprawling agency roster and consolidating much of its work with four main agencies: McGarryBowen, Leo Burnett, Taxi and CP&B.

Agencies leaving the Kraft roster include Droga5, VSA Partners, TBWA, The Martin Agency, Lopez Negrete Communications, Roberts & Langer and Wieden & Kennedy, the company said Friday. The agencies could not be immediately reached on deadline.

"When we became an independent company two years ago, we found ourselves with a rich agency roster filled with best-in-class partners -- including more than a dozen agencies of record," said Russ Dyer, spokesman for Kraft, in a statement to Ad Age. "As a more focused company, we have been reviewing opportunities to right-size and right-cast our agency roster to more appropriately suit our communication needs. All of these agencies are exceptionally talented but a roster this size prevents us from nurturing the types of relationships critical to building, deep and long-standing brand partnerships."

The move, according to the company, is so that it can "align our brands more strategically with the particular strengths of agencies on our roster" and use agencies' category expertise where it makes sense.

"Engaging fewer agencies across the portfolio will allow us to go deeper with our brand assignments, providing efficiencies, scale and rich pools of talent from each partner," Mr. Dyer said in the statement. "And of course we look forward to the benefits of having key agency partners right in our backyard," he added, referring to Chicago-based Leo Burnett, part of Publicis Groupe, and the Chicago office of McGarryBowen, party of Dentsu Aegis.

WPP's Taxi had already been working on beverage brands such as Maxwell House, Gevalia and Mio. MDC's CP&B has been working on Kraft's A.1., Grey Poupon, Jell-O and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese brands.

McGarryBowen's Chicago office has been handling a number of Kraft brands, including Boca, Crystal Light, Deli Deluxe, Kraft Singles, Kraft Mayo, Kraft Natural Cheese, Lunchables, Miracle Whip and Oscar Mayer, according to Ad Age's DataCenter.

The agencies either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to Ad Age's DataCenter, Droga5 had been working on Athenos and Cracker Barrel; Martin had been handling Cool Whip and Stove Top; TBWA's New York office had been working on Kraft salad dressing and Planters; and Wieden had been working on Velveeta products. VSA Partners had been working with Kraft on Country Time, Crystal Light, Kool-Aid and Tang.

"Ending our relationships with such talented and committed strategic partners is very difficult and we want to emphasize that none of these agencies are exiting due to poor performance," Mr. Dyer added. "We are extremely grateful for these agencies' great work on our brands.While we believe this is the right move for Kraft and we look forward to building and expanding on these four relationships, it is still difficult to exit partnerships we value and trust."

Contributing: Malika Toure

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