Capping off a major review, General Mills on Monday selected two new agencies, 72andSunny of Los Angeles and Redscout of New York, to handle the $700 million in annual advertising spending for its largest business.
The Golden Valley-based company, one of the nation's biggest advertisers, began the review this summer for the vast array of products it sells in U.S. retail stores, ranging from cereals to snacks to pre-made meals.
The announcement marks a major change for General Mills. For decades, the company has worked closely with Saatchi & Saatchi of New York and McCann, which has an office in Minneapolis.
Saatchi & Saatchi's work for General Mills stretches back to 1925, when its predecessor agency, Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, created the "Kitchen Tested" slogan for Gold Medal flour and turned it into a top seller. The firm in 2013 and 2014 produced two memorable TV ads for Cheerios, General Mills' bestselling cereal, featuring an interracial couple. In one, the daughter, upon learning she will soon have a baby brother, persuades her father to get a puppy.
McCann's Campbell Mithun unit since the 1970s handled work for General Mills product lines like Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker and Nature Valley.
Earlier this year, McCann Worldgroup consolidated its Twin Cities offices, including long-standing Minneapolis advertising agency Mithun and McCann's Minneapolis-based General Mills account team. They rebranded it as McCann Minneapolis to reflect "the closer working relationship between McCann and Mithun that has evolved in connection with growth and integration of the shared General Mills business," the company said at the time.
Saatchi and McCann have been "excellent partners for many years," Michael Fanuele, vice president and chief creative officer for General Mills, said in a statement. "They are incredible people who have done amazing work for our brands. They've been everything good partners and good friends should be, and we thank them for their great work."
When the review process was announced, General Mills said it aimed for the creative units of partner agencies to be staffed by at least 50 percent women and 20 percent people of color, a target designed to elicit different ideas that would speak to many different consumers. The company said it wasn't a quota, but was meant to reinforce the company's seriousness about the issue.
"Every agency exhibited a refreshing commitment to diversity, and our ask around diversity led to really open and important conversations with all the agencies," Kris Patton, a General Mills spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.
Fanuele said the pairing of 72andSunny with Redscout has experience helping brands change direction and "creative chops that have culture-shaping power.
"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," Fanuele said in a statement.
72andSunny has worked with General Mills before this on its Totino's and Old El Paso products. A second phase of the creative review will name a fixed roster of agencies that General Mills can hire on a project-by-project basis.
Last year, General Mills named Mindshare as its primary media partner, which is a separate budget. Mindshare will work with its new advertising leads on delivering the work through various digital media platforms.