Nestle USA Trims Digital Agency Roster

Eight Shops Make the Cut, Following Lengthy Review

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After a lengthy review process that began this spring, Nestle USA whittled down its more than 15 digital roster shops to eight, including Dentsu's 360i, Engine's Deep Focus, Interpublic's Huge and WPP's Grey, as well as independent shops Resource/Ammirati, Threshold Interactive, SmithBrothers and Swift, Inc.

"Our decision to award the business to these agencies was based on a strong combination of factors including strategic planning, digital acumen and team strength," said Chris Padgett, VP-digital marketing at Nestle USA, in a statement. "We have initiated a phased transition of our digital business, and look forward to working with these agencies on our business. We thank our previous agencies for their years of excellent work on behalf of Nestlé."

Dentsu's 360i, which is new to the roster, was tapped to handle Skinny Cow, Coffee Mate and Lean Cuisine. The shop also won some business for Nestle Waters as part of a separate review.

After the roster pitch, Engine Group's Deep Focus emerged with Tombstone, Ovaltine and Edy's and Dreyer's ice cream brands. The shop also won some Nestle Waters business, including its direct water delivery business.

Independent agency Resource/Ammirati, which already handled Digiorno and California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas, added Nestle Tollhouse. The shop also works on some Purina brands.

Independent shop Swift made it onto the roster with Stouffer's and Outshine. Threshold Interactive, another small independent agency, will handle Butterfinger and Hot Pockets.

Huge will support Nescafe, Dolce Gusto and Nescafe Classico. And Grey, the only traditional creative shop on the newly trimmed roster, will handle digital work for Haagen Dazs.

Nestle also recently hired Interpublic's FCB for a corporate brand assignment that charges the agency with changing consumer perceptions of Nestle. According to the RFP obtained by Ad Age, the goal was to shift Nestle from a "trusted chocolate company" to a "recognized and trusted food and beverage, nutrition, health and wellness company." The scope was domestic and the focus was on Nesquik, Gerber, Outshine and Pure Life. Deep Focus is also supporting that project.

Including all divisions, Nestle in the U.S. ranks as the nation's 41st-largest advertiser. The company spent $944.5 million in 2013, according to the Ad Age DataCenter.

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

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