Whole Foods' $65 Million Media Assignment Is In Review

Upscale grocery store chain Whole Foods Market has launched a media agency review, according to sources.

In its last annual report the company stated that advertising expenses totaled nearly $90 million in its fiscal-year 2015. It’s estimated that the company spends about $65 million annually on media.

Previously, the Austin-based Whole Foods had worked with GSD&M (also based in Austin) for media. Two years ago, GSD&M was the media agency that Whole Foods used when it launched its first national ad campaign. New York-based creative agency Partners & Spade was tapped to develop the creative approach.

However it wasn’t clear whether GSD&M was still working with the food company — neither the agency or the client returned queries about the review by posting time.



The media review comes just two months after Whole Foods hired a new global VP of marketing, Sonya Gafsi Oblisk. Previously a top marketing executive with Walmart, Oblisk now leads Whole Foods marketing, advertising and brand development efforts.  

In May, with same-store sales declining more than expected, Whole Foods executives told analysts on an earnings call that the company would embrace a more aggressive marketing plan.  

“We are ramping up our marketing behind digital coupons, in some markets stepping up mailings to people’s homes,” John Mackey, co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market, said during the call. “That marketing is the next big step. We can lower prices here and there, but if people don’t know about them, we won’t get the full lift.”

“We are doing more to invite customers into stores through advertising, digital and radio,” added co-CEO Walter Robb.

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