Chobani Appoints Droga5, Weber Shandwick to Lead Creative and PR Duties

Appointment of PR Firm Comes as Yogurt Brand Faces Recall

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Yogurt giant Chobani has chosen two new agency partners following a review process this summer: Droga5, which will lead creative advertising and Weber Shandwick, which will handle public relations and social engagement strategy.

The most recent incumbent shops on the business were Boston-based Boathouse and Omnicom Group's Fleishman Hillard. Droga5 -- which is backed by talent agency William Morris Endeavor -- will be tasked to come up with work that "surprises the marketplace" and brings the brand to the next level, Chobani said in a statement. On the PR side, Interpublic Group of Cos.' owned Weber Shandwick will be expected to deliver an integrated communications approach across PR, social, and internal communications.

It's especially imperative that Weber Shandwick gets up and running fast given the brand is currently fending off its first crisis PR situation: claims by almost 100 people that eating Chobani yogurt has made them sick from yogurt tainted by mold. The FDA has said no cases have been confirmed yet and the company is working with the agency to expidite a recall.

The new agency relationships come under new marketing leadership at the company. This summer Chobani hired Peter McGuinness, the former CEO at Omnicom Group's DDB in Chicago, to serve as chief marketing and brand officer. He previously worked with the brand when he was CEO at Interpublic's Gotham, a former Chobani ad agency. Additionally, the company appointed former Unilever executive Josh Dean to serve as VP-brand advertising. He will be responsible for integrated campaign platforms across all channels.

"We began this process to find world class partners in both advertising and PR, and I am confident that we have aligned ourselves with the best in the business," said Mr. McGuinness in a statement. "Throughout this search, Droga5 and Weber Shandwick have come to the table with a clear vision for the brand and breakthrough communications that will be instrumental in helping us go to the next level. We cannot wait to get to work."

Chobani has cycled through several creative agencies over the past few years, including Boathouse, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Gotham. Adland will be watching to see whether Droga5 has staying power on the account.

"Few brands across any category, have achieved so much, so fast and without compromise," said David Droga, founder and creative chairman of Droga5 in a statement. "We are inspired by Chobani's incredible business ambitions and for their ongoing commitment to positive social impact."

"Chobani is an amazing success story—a testament to its founder, its people and a category-changing product," said Gail Heimann, president of Weber Shandwick. "It is a brand that was built largely through a passionate fan base. Our job is to continue to fan the flames of the passionate while giving new users new reasons to try—and love—Chobani."

Chobani leads the Greek yogurt segment with 51% share, according to Nielsen data for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 3 provided by Sanford C. Bernstein.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

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