Kraft Heinz has expanded its relationships with creative agencies Gut and Johannes Leonardo, bringing them on as creative agencies of record on certain brands after both shops did project work for the food marketer.
Miami-based Gut will lead creative on Philadelphia Cream Cheese while New York-based Johannes Leonardo—which WPP owns a minority stake in—will handle Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, Velveeta Cheese and Shells & Cheese, Bagel Bites pizza snacks and Classico Pasta Sauce, a Kraft Heinz spokeswoman confirmed. The partnerships go into effect in 2020.
The decisions were made without formal reviews. The moves come as Kraft Heinz works on revitalizing its business strategy and its brands under CEO Miguel Patricio, who was hired earlier this year.
Droga5 had won the Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kraft Mac and Cheese creative accounts last year. The Accenture Interactive-owned agency did not return a request for comment.
In 2019, Kraft Heinz did not have creative agencies working on Ore-Ida or Classico and its work on Velveeta and Bagel Bites had been handled on a project basis, including work from Johannes Leonardo on both brands. Kraft Heinz also worked earlier this year with small agency D/CAL on a Bagel Bites campaign on a project basis.
“We are pleased with the work Johannes Leonardo has started on two of our most iconic brands this year to tap into their brand purpose and cultural truths,” said Matt Carpenter, head of brand build for frozen at Kraft Heinz. “We look forward to partnering with them on additional brands next year."
Gut worked with Philadelphia Cream Cheese on a project basis this year. The shop developed the "Bagel That" device that cuts holes into other carbs, like waffles or a slice of bread, to make it easy to spread them with cream cheese—just in case you run out of bagels. Gut also created a Thanksgiving campaign this year, "Wait, is that a cheesecake?"—challenging the tradition of having staple desserts like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and fueling a conspiracy theory that the pilgrims and Native Americans grubbed on cheesecake all those centuries ago.
"Our first experience working together this year has shown us that Gut has incredible potential to create iconic work for this iconic brand," said Ariel Suffern, head of Philadelphia Cream Cheese marketing.
Juan Javier Peña and Ricardo Casal, executive creative directors and partners at Gut, said in a joint statement, "We have built a true partnership with the brand team and together have created campaigns that we are really proud of."
Kraft Heinz's annual sales rose less than 1 percent to nearly $26.3 billion in 2018. Results have been weak in 2019, with sales down nearly 5 percent in the first nine months of the year. Meanwhile, Kraft Heinz tumbled 29 spots in Ad Age’s annual ranking of the largest U.S. advertisers over the past two years. It is the 119th biggest, with $403 million in total U.S. ad spending in 2018, according to Ad Age Datacenter.
According to COMvergence estimates, the company spent $30 million in U.S. measured media on its Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand in 2018. Velveeta Cheese's U.S. measured media spend last year was $3.6 million, Ore-Ida Golden Crinkles French Fries was $3.2 million and Classico Sauce was $18,000, according to the firm's research. COMvergence did not have spend estimates for the Bagel Bites brand.