Chobani Wants New Agency by Fall

Replaces Boathouse after just a few months

Chobani expects to have a new agency onboard early this autumn, the company said as it launched a review to replace lead creative shop Boathouse in Boston.

In 2012 Chobani spent nearly $52 million in measured media, according to Nielsen.

Boathouse was hired in February, taking over from Leo Burnett which worked on the brand for a year until its contract expired at the end of 2012. Just before that happened, Chobani’s head of marketing Doron Stern exited the yogurt company. In April, Chobani replaced him with Brad Charron, who spent almost three years at Under Armour where his last position was head of marketing, China.

New York consultants Ark Advisors, conducting the agency search, referred calls to the client.

A Chobani rep said Boathouse, which was invited to participate in the review and declined, worked with the company “in a time of incredible transition for the brand.”

“As we look toward to the next chapter, we are focused on bringing together our world-class bench of internal marketing and communications professionals with the best partners for our business,” she added.

Chobani started in upstate New York in 2005 and began selling its yogurt in 2007. It's now America’s largest-selling Greek yogurt brand, ringing up more than $1 billion in sales. As the popularity of Greek yogurt has soared so has new competition from deep-pocketed category marketers like Danone and General Mills. In response, Chobani hired Boulder, Colo.-based TDA Advertising & Design as its first ad agency in 2009. Seven months later the company switched the account to Gotham, New York. Two years afterward, Chobani launched a review that saw Burnett win the business. In its latest move to Boathouse, the agency partnered with a shop co-founded by John Connors III, son of Hill Holliday founder Jack Connors.

One brand observer noted Chobani's second agency switch this year and said: “When was the last time you saw a Chobani ad you remember? It’s safe to say there’s a tremendous amount of noise in the marketplace and Chobani’s advertising has not been making any impact there. It’s a category leader that hasn’t established a leadership position.”

The brand strategy review does not impact Chobani's other marketing partners: digital shop Big Spaceship, PR company Fleishman-Hillard and media agency OMD.