Del Monte Consolidates Agency Business With CRM Shop Epsilon

Company Looked to Consolidate for Cost Efficiencies, Better Integration

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Del Monte Foods has tapped direct and performance marketing shop Epsilon as its creative agency of record in a move to consolidate its agency relationships and rethink its marketing strategy.

"We, like other CPGs, stepped back and realized we had a large number of agencies we were working with as we kicked off integrated marketing communications plans," said Jen Reiner, senior director, marketing activation and shopper marketing at Del Monte. "As we get lean and think about resources, it's difficult to manage a large number of agencies. We weren't getting the integration we wanted to see through the planning process, or the collaboration we wanted to see."

The Walnut Creek, Calif.-based food giant accounts for a major share of the country's fruit, vegetables, tomato and broth categories, and collectively represents approximately $1.7 billion in annual sales, according to the company.

Epsilon replaced at least three incumbent agencies, including Juniper Park/TBWA. Del Monte will continue to work with its media agency Starcom.

Juniper Park declined to comment.

The company tapped Epsilon, which is owned by Alliance Data, after a five-month review process. In addition to cost efficiencies, it was looking for an agency that "could be a traditional agency, digital agency, as well as a strategic shopper marketing agency," she said. "We hoped we'd be able to find that, but weren't certain going in." Still, the team was optimistic "given lot of blurring of responsibility" and the role digital has played in driving agencies to play "in a wider array of disciplines."

For Del Monte -- a "commodity-based" business that's "often competing with private label" -- the review was also about finding a shop that can identify loyal consumers to ultimately drive purchases, she said. While Epsilon has invested in integrated marketing capabilities over the years, the Dallas-based shop is best known for its direct marketing and data management expertise. "It definitely played into our decision, knowing that Epsilon has that background," she said. Direct and email marketing is also "an area we haven't fully developed."

Epsilon's Chicago-based team will oversee the account, including marketing across traditional, digital and retail channels "to increase product sales and drive operational efficiency" across College Inn products, Del Monte plastic Fruit Cup products and Del Monte vegetable products, the company said in a statement.

The move continues a trend of marketers, like Sony and P&G, consolidating their accounts with fewer shops, and tapping different types of agencies to lead integrated accounts. For example, digital agencies like R/GA, VML and Deep Focus have been tapped for lead-agency roles that include traditional creative work.

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