Honey Bunches of Oats hires new agency

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Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal
Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal Credit: Post Holdings

Honey Bunches of Oats cereal brand has picked San Francisco-based Argonaut as its agency-of-record for creative and social media work following a competitive review.

The agency switch comes roughly a year after parent Post Consumer Brands gave the Honey Bunches of Oats account to Public Works.

In August 2017, Public Works said it was handling strategy, creative, broadcast, social for the general market, digital and -- as the agency put it in a maritime-themed statement -- "deck-swabbing" for Honey Bunches of Oats. Post said the shop still works with the agency on Pebbles, Honeycomb and Malt-O-Meal.

Last year, Honey Bunches of Oats' longtime spokeswoman and real-life factory worker Diana Hunter retired. Hunter began working for Post in 1976 and starred in her first commercial in 2002, after which the brand started to prominently feature her in ads (Including one in which Hunter, in a red hard hat and goggles, shows a handful of the cereal and says, "This is what I make: Sparkle flakes. When you taste it you think it's a sparkle — a sparkle in your eye.")

Though Hunter had been a beloved voice for Honey Bunches of Oats, Roxanne Bernstein, chief marketing officer of Post Consumer Brands, said the brand is finding new ways to "deliver the authenticity and the joy of the brand in a way that will be very sticky and unforgettable."

Bernstein said the company was impressed by Argonaut's work with brands in other highly competitive and cluttered sectors. The company thought "a lot of that approach and thinking would bode well for what we were trying to achieve in the food and cereal categories," she said.

Hunter Hindman, founder and chief creative at Argonaut, said the new campaign was really centered around celebrating a "core love" for the brand. "It's such an iconic cereal," he says. He added that during the pitch, the agency's employees shared photos of boxes of the cereal they found in pantries while spending time with families around the holidays.

Hindman, along with members of Argonaut's executive team including founder and chief strategy officer Max Heilbron, head of brand management and new business Katie Miller and CEO Robert Riccardi worked together on the Frito-Lay portfolio while at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

The new campaign is expected to break in October.

Honey Bunches of Oats is one of the top-selling cereals in the U.S. and is a major brand for Post. The company spent $27.2 million on U.S. measured media for Honey Bunches of Oats in 2017, far exceeding its spending on any other cereal, according to Kantar Media.

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