Droga5 to Handle Marketing for Kraft's New Gum Brand

Product Set to Be Unveiled Later this Year

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Droga5 continues to expand its relationship with Kraft Foods', its latest assignment being the launch of a major new gum brand later this year.

The gum has been in the planning stages for a while, but Kraft had not spoken publicly about it until this week at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York meeting in Florida. "We have a tremendous launch in the gum category that I'm not allowed to tell you about today, so look for that ," Exec VP-North America Tony Vernon told Wall Street analysts.

In a statement to Ad Age , Kraft said that it had chosen independent Droga5 to handle the product's advertising. "We strive to provide our consumers with new products and flavors to continuously keep our brands fresh and our targets engaged," the statment said. "This year is no different. We have a new gum launch on the horizon and a new creative agency, Droga5, to help us bring it to life."

There's still plenty of mystery surrounding the product's taste and target audience; Kraft would not elaborate, and Droga5 declined to comment for this story.

Gum, which is largely sold on image and marketing, has emerged as a priority for Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld. While the company has outperformed across much of its portfolio recently, its gum and candy business has lagged in Europe and North America, where its brands were down mid-single digits in 2011, Kraft reported this week. The marketer's gum strategy is focused on "innovation and the need to hit lower price points," Ms. Rosenfeld said on a recent earnings call.

Late last year Kraft made an agency switch on its biggest gum brand, Trident, handing the global brand to The Publicis Groupe 's Saatchi & Saatchi after taking it away from WPP's JWT in July.

The assignment cements Droga5's status as one of Kraft 's favored shops --especially when it comes to product introductions -- and furthers a streak that has made it one of adland's closely watched players. Last week, news broke that the agency had received backing from several prominent investors understood to be in the range of $5 million to $10 million.

Droga5 inched its way onto Kraft 's roster in 2010 as agency for the Athenos line of Mediterranean foods. The shop parlayed that win by taking on MilkBite, a new milk-and-granola bar brand that Kraft debuted last year in grocery stores.

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