Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi has been handling the Yoplait brand. The company confirmed that it will continue to work on portions of the Yoplait business, including the Go-Gurt kids variety as well as innovation. Saatchi also continues to work on significant chunks of business including Cheerios, Progresso, Green Giant and Fiber One. Interpublic's McCann Erickson in New York also has a large piece of business at General Mills including the Pillsbury franchise, as well as Nature Valley, among others.
"We are very pleased to say we have selected Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, as a partner on the Yoplait brand," said a General Mills spoleswoman in a statement. Wieden & Kennedy also confirmed the new relationship. A Saatchi spokeswoman referred calls to the client.
Wieden & Kennedy has been lacking in the packaged-food category since it fell off the Kraft roster in November after the marketer consolidated its roster. The Yoplait win comes after the agency earlier this month parted ways with Weight Watchers. Wieden in February picked up the KFC account without a review, just a couple weeks after Verizon enlisted the shop for brand and strategy work.
The account move comes after Ann Simonds took the chief marketing officer role at General Mills earlier this year, replacing Mark Addicks, who retired after a 26-year tenure at the packaged food giant. Also playing a key role in agency decisions is Michael Fanuele, a former chief strategy officer for Fallon who joined General Mills late last year in the newly created position of chief creative officer.
General Mills spends more on Yoplait in the U.S. than its other brands, according to Kantar Media. In 2014, the company spent $169.4 million on U.S. measured media, up from $161.4 million in 2013. Its next largest brand by spending is Cheerios, followed by Pillsbury.
Yoplait has shown signs of progress lately, after it had initially struggled to keep pace as consumers moved to surging upstart yogurt bands like Chobani. In the quarter ending Feb. 22, General Mills executives said that retail sales for original style Yoplait jumped 17%. Meanwhile, sales for Yoplait's Greek varieties were up 43% in the quarter thanks to strong performances by Yoplait Greek 100 and its new Greek 100 Whips.
The company is in the midst of rolling out a 25% reduction of sugar across its Yoplait original line up. "We expect this news will help generate more good growth for Yoplait," CEO Ken Powell said on an earnings call. The marketer is also rolling out versions of Yoplait using branding from the "Star Wars" and "Frozen" movie franchises