Hershey gives Arnold big kiss, and its account

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In a big slap in the face of two Madison Avenue giants, Hershey last week parted ways with DDB and Ogilvy & Mather, moving much of its $136 million a year account to the New York office of Arnold Worldwide-a move that also reflects its desire to increase spending online and in other nontraditional channels.

Arnold, owned by Havas, stole the business by leveraging relationships and by presenting an innovative account team that includes traditional creative talent as well as package design, buzz marketing, promotions and Web design and marketing. To round out the team, a few media planners from sibling media shop MPG, now handling responsibilities for some brands, will relocate to Arnold's New York offices.

"We offered them a more modern, nimbler approach to marketing," said Executive Creative Director John Staffen, a former DDB staffer who worked on the account there. He said he contacted CEO Rick Lenny and Senior VP-President of U.S. Confectionery Tom Hernquist about two months ago and essentially offered them a one-stop shop for everything from ads, to design, to promotions, to PR.

Hershey has been attempting in recent years to enliven its icon brands with efforts including the launch of an interactive Hershey's store in Times Square, which has recently been replicated in Chicago, in addition to adding a series of limited-edition flavors.

Now, though, as the fast-growing candy company looks to branch out further for the flagships Mr. Lenny has tapped for growth, Hershey needs to tap more contemporary media vehicles. Arnold will handle creative for chocolate brands including Hershey's, Reese's and Hershey's Kisses. North Castle Partners, an independent the marketer has worked with for some time, will work on refreshment and confectionery brands such as Ice Breakers and Jolly Rancher. Losing out are WPP's Ogilvy and Omnicom's DDB. Both worked on the business for decades. Omnicom's OMD remains Hershey's media-buying agency.

In a statement, DDB New York President Peter Hempel wished Hershey "continued success." In an internal memo last week, Ogilvy North America CEO Bill Gray said the agency had resigned Hershey "several weeks ago" because Kraft Foods asked it to handle its confectionary portfolio in Europe.

Contributing: Stephanie Thompson

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