Popchips Names David&Goliath as Agency of Record

Snack CMO Says Plans Include Strategy and Creative Work, New Products for 2016

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Popchips named David&Goliath as its agency of record, the latest marketing shakeup as the marketer of popped snacks prepares for new product launches in 2016.

The relationship between the two Los Angeles-based companies gives David&Goliath responsibility for all of Popchips' advertising and creative work, along with work on brand repositioning.

Popchips did its first TV campaign in fall 2014 with the focus on "all the flavor, half the fat" of mainstream potato chips in spots from agency Dandelion.

"We feel like it was a good campaign, but as we move into the future and we launch products that we think are going to massively expand our position in the category" the brand probably needs a new marketing message, said Chief Marketing Officer Marc Seguin. He envisions a "full 360 campaign" that for now will not include TV but will include elements such as in-store activation, field marketing, digital and social.

Mr. Seguin, who joined the company about 18 months ago, said Popchips decided a few months ago that it wanted to have a mission, vision and campaign with a unified feel. It decided to bring in a strategic agency to help craft those ideas as well as a campaign for new product launches set for 2016.

Instead of a formal request for proposals and pitch process, the marketer asked a few agencies to meet and brainstorm for a few hours, and felt it had "an amazing fit with David&Goliath," Mr. Seguin said. In a statement, D&G Founder and Chairman David Angelo said the agency is "excited to partner with what we consider to be an ultimate challenger brand."

Popchips is the latest addition to David&Goliath's client roster and follows another food-related win. David&Goliath became the lead agency for Jack in the Box this summer after being named to the chain's agency roster early in the year.

Popchips entered the market in 2007, positioning its popped snack products made without oil as lower-fat alternatives to traditional chips, a category dominated by PepsiCo's Frito-Lay with brands such as Ruffles and Lay's. While Popchips enjoyed rapid growth following its launch, aided by advertising featuring celebrity backers such as Katy Perry, lately sales have slowed.

U.S. sales hit a peak of $81.8 million in 2012 and have declined each year since then, with sales of $54.7 million expected for 2015, according to Euromonitor International. Popchips is the 62nd largest brand in the overall U.S. sweet and savory snacks category, with 0.1% of category sales, Euromonitor data shows.

While Mr. Seguin would not discuss the new products in much detail, he said they are made with the same types of ingredients as existing Popchips but with "a materially different taste experience" that has "bolder flavor and more crunch." They are set to hit select markets in March and go national in May. "We're going to be spending very aggressively against the new products," he said.

The advertising and product changes come after Popchips brought in its second CEO in less than two years. David Ritterbush was named CEO in November. Prior CEO Paul Davis, whose earlier work included years at rivals Frito-Lay and Kettle, moved into an expanded board role as co-chairman alongside Popchips Co-Founder Keith Belling.

Popchips, which is majority owned by Brussels-based holding company Verlinvest, declined to share its sales figures. Smaller investors include Ms. Perry, Ashton Kutcher and Sean Combs. Mr. Seguin said that while Popchips has been a celebrity-driven brand since its early days, there are "no plans to use them in campaigns" for now.

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