Ghirardelli has named MullenLowe as its creative agency of record as the chocolatier looks to lean into social media and consumer insights.

Interpublic Group of Cos. sibling agency FCB was the incumbent and participated in the review, which was led by Flock Associates Consulting. Ghirardelli had worked with FCB since 2014. The first MullenLowe campaign for Ghirardelli is planned to debut next summer.

“Our brief focused on new consumer insights and social-first ideas,” said Bobby Oliver, VP and head of marketing at Ghirardelli. “MullenLowe stood out from the beginning in their level of insight and thinking. They understand the brand and audience we want to reach.

“The world changed in ways we didn’t expect in the last three years, and now people’s work and home patterns are different,” he continued. “Our current campaign has run for four years and worked well. But given the changes, we need to dig into more consumer knowledge.”

Ghirardelli spent $36 million on U.S.-measured media in 2022, and $10 million in the first half of 2023, according to Vivvix, including paid social data from Pathmatics.

“In the past, we’ve been focused on TV,” Oliver said. “But as we understand how the media landscape has changed and how consumers consume chocolate, we wanted to touch on those moments and occasions in a fresh way.”

The chocolate brand recently reopened its flagship store in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square following a six-month renovation.

Lindt and Sprüngli, the parent company of Ghirardelli, Lindt and Russell Stover, reported in July that its North American segment grew sales 11% in the last six months to roughly $907 million. The company partly credited consumers giving chocolate bunnies and other sweets as gifts for Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day.

Ghirardelli’s U.S. sales rose nearly 14% to $727 million in 2022, according to the company’s 2022 annual report. But chocolate makers, including Ghirardelli, are expected to face headwinds as cocoa prices rise and consumers cut back on sweets for wellness purposes and turn to weight-loss drugs such as Ozempic or Wegovy.

MullenLowe recently named Frank Cartagena as its U.S. CEO and renewed its contract to work with the military for recruitment ads.

“What excites us most is the opportunity to partner with a brand that has endured and thrived over time and is looking for new ways to market themselves to stand out and connect with the evolving tastes of consumers,” said Javier Passerieu, president of MullenLowe West, in a press release.

This article was originally published on Ad Age here.