General Mills Picks 72andSunny and Redscout to Handle Its $700 Million U.S. Ad Business

The 2 units pitched as one partnership

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General Mills has picked a unit comprised of both 72andSunny and innovation shop Redscout as its lead agency in the U.S. after an extended review. The second portion of the review, which will establish a separate roster of agencies handling project-based work for GM, has not yet concluded.

The two MDC Partners agencies won lead status on the food giant's account, which remains one of North America's largest, in a "unique partnership model" that combines 72andSunny's creative work with Redscout's brand strategy offering. They'll focus on precision targeting to more effectively engage key demographics with creative campaigns. 

"72andsunny with Redscout impressed us for so many reasons: a generous passion for our consumers; creative chops that have culture-shaping power; experience helping brands change their fortunes; and an inspiring commitment to diversity among their creative team," said Michael Fanuele, General Mills vp and chief creative officer, a veteran of Fallon. "But what swayed us most was a distinct ability to collaborate, with us and our other partners. This feels like a genuine, productive relationship, the kind in which we will make each other better."

According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the MDC group—which included staffers from the Los Angeles and New York offices of 72andSunny—beat out Deutsch, McCann New York, Mother New York, and a Publicis unit led by Fallon to win the business. The agencies were required to present creative briefs for the client's Yoplait and Nature Valley brands, and Saatchi & Saatchi, which had worked on the GM business for more than 35 years, did not participate in the review. 72andSunny had been handling smaller portions of the client's portfolio prior to this decision.

"We have been blown away by the bravery, smarts and determination of every person we've met at General Mills," said 72andSunny founder and chief creative officer Glenn Cole in a statement. "We're humbled that they have asked 72andSunny and Redscout to be their partners and help write the next chapter of the story of some of the most iconic brands in the world."

Redscout CEO and founder Jonah Disend called the win "a dream opportunity," adding, "I have been so inspired by the General Mills team's clear commitment to serving people in such an honest way."

General Mills announced the review in July about one year after naming WPP's Mindshare as its U.S. media agency of record. Joanne Davis Consulting led the review.

According to the most recent numbers from Kantar Media, the company spent just under $700 million on measured media in 2015 and $186 million during the first quarter of 2016. That marked a drop from 2014, when total spend was greater than $850 million.

The client also recently made headlines for being one of several large advertisers to announce diversity goals or quotas for its ad agency partners: In a statement, it strongly suggested that the teams working on its business be comprised of 50 percent women and 20 percent people of color.

A 72andSunny spokesperson declined to comment for this story.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.