Post cereals dishes out a big helping of its creative account to Barkley
Post Consumer Brands has named Barkley its agency-of-record across four of its cereals: Honey Bunches of Oats, Great Grains, Honeycomb and the Pebbles family of brands (Fruity, Cocoa and Marshmellow Fruity Pebbles), following a review managed by Boston firm Pile and Co.
The companies say the partnership kicks off in January, 2021. The independent agency will handle strategy and creative for the four cereal brands, mainly out of its Kansas City headquarters.
San Francisco-based Argonaut previously handled the Honey Bunches of Oats business while various small shops worked on the other three brands, according to one person close to the business. The appointment of Barkley marks a consolidation of Post's flagship cereal brands with one ad agency.
"If you think about the audiences for those brands, they're all very unique and different," Barkley Chief Growth Officer Jason Parks says. "What's interesting about this [assignment] was this integration [of advertising] of all their core brands—from Fruity Pebbles, a kid brand, to Great Grains."
Parks says Barkley was eager to rise to the "challenge" Post put forth of modernizing its Honey Bunches of Oats, Great Grains, Honeycomb and Pebbles brands as well as finding the connections between all of their unique audiences.
“We look forward to building on our strong foundation by leveraging Barkley’s deep understanding of the CPG category and demonstrated ability to reach consumers with vastly different tastes and preferences,” TD Dixon, chief growth officer at Post Consumer Brands, said in a statement. “Barkley’s modern consumer expertise and vision made them a clear standout during the review process.”
The appointment of Barkley comes as Post says it looks to "increase household penetration and re-energize the breakfast cereal category with these iconic brands" like Pebbles, which will turn 50 years old in 2021. Parks says part of Barkley's responsibility will be helping the company better rival the "behemoths" Kellogg and General Mills.
Though the pandemic has led consumers to purchase more comfort foods like cereal while they shelter at home, Post Holdings, parent to Post Consumer Brands, reported a 2.2% decline in net sales for its recent fourth quarter and a tepid 0.3% increase in net sales for the full 2020 fiscal year ended Sept. 30. For Post Consumer Brands specifically, the company reported a 3.2% drop in net sales for the fourth quarter, but a 3.9% increase in net sales for the fiscal 2020 year.
According to COMvergence estimates, Post Consumer Brands spent a total of $25 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2019, with the bulk of that going to Honey Bunches of Oats ($17 million).
The win continues a new business streak for Barkley, which has picked up approximately 19 new accounts in 19 months. Parks says the momentum has allowed the agency to avoid both layoffs and salary reductions in the pandemic. Most recently, Barkley won Motel 6 from The Richards Group, which was taken out of the hotel chain's review after the incumbent agency's founder made a racist remark.
Barkley also won Delta Faucets, San Jose State University, SummaCare, Copper Mountain Resorts and Security Benefit this year.