Truvia, a natural sweetener made from the stevia plant, has brought on Carmichael Lynch and sibling agency Spong PR as its integrated AORs in the U.S. for advertising, brand planning, PR, social media and digital content.
The Cargill brand selected the two shops following an RFP, which was launched with the goal of "driving efficiency with excellent partners across all disciplines," said A.J. Aumock, Truvia global marketing leader.
"We really liked the fact they are both outstanding agencies and they're under one roof, so they're constantly aligned strategically and we're already starting to feel the advantages and synergy," said Mr. Aumock.
Truvia previously worked with Fallon on advertising. Representatives from the shop were not immediately available for comment. The brand also works with UM on media planning and buying and RF|Binder on health professional communications.
While Carmichael Lynch will serve as the creative and strategic lead on Truvia's marketing efforts, the agency will work hand-in-hand with Spong, said Mr. Aumock, who added that "it's hard to know where one ends and the other begins." Spong will lead on PR, influencer engagement and media relations, and the two agencies will collaborate on social and digital content. Budget information on the accounts was not disclosed.
Carmichael Lynch President Marcus Fischer said the "integration of advertising and PR stems from empathy and human insights," which is key for storytelling and will make the work on the Truvia account "that much more powerful."
Julie Batliner, president of Spong, said it's an exciting moment to work on the Truvia business since the brand has a number of natural products and the FDA recently updated its nutrition fact label rules around sugar. The new rule, aimed at reducing obesity rates in America, states that the back panel of packaged food and beverages must display how many grams of sugar have been added by manufacturers and what percentage of the recommended daily serving it represents.
According to AC Nielsen research for the 52 weeks ended April 9, the overall sugar substitute category in the U.S is declining between 3% and 4%, year-over-year, driven mainly by artificial sweeteners, while natural sweetener sales are growing between 4% and 6%.
In a time when consumers are increasingly turning away from artificial sweeteners and embracing natural options, Mr. Aumock said Truvia is making sure it talks about its ingredients to reinforce its positioning in the market without having to use the word "natural." For example, he said the first ingredient listed on the brand's new Truvia Nectar product is honey, followed by stevia leaf extract.
Truvia Nectar is currently available nationwide in three retailers – Target, Publix and HyVee – but it will appear on shelves more broadly later this summer, added Mr. Aumock.
In 2014, Truvia spent nearly $5.8 million on measured media in 2014, according to Kantar.