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Festival Foods taps Marcus Thomas to grow fans

December 14th 2022

Cleveland, Ohio, Dec. 13, 2022 – Independent agency Marcus Thomas has been awarded AOR duties for Festival Foods following a competitive review led by industry search consultants Hasan + Shumaker.

The family owned, Wisconsin-based retailer that previously worked with Shine United tapped Marcus Thomas to handle creative and media duties after experiencing the agency’s unique approach to integration and enjoying cultural synergies.

“Festival Foods’ store count and geographical footprint has grown quickly and we are not a one-size-fits-all brand,” said Leslie Atkinson, VP of Marketing at Festival Foods. “Marcus Thomas’ marketing and media savviness coupled with their data science prowess were key reasons we selected the agency. And the culture fit could not be denied.”

Reaching guests in more personalized, one-on-one ways is a top priority for the retailer known for its high-quality products and exceptional guest experiences. Festival Foods was founded as Skogen’s in 1946 and is still owned by the Skogen family. One of the largest and most beloved brands in Wisconsin, Marcus Thomas aims to take the brand to greater heights.

“There was great alignment around our values,” added Marcus Thomas SVP of Business Development Stephanie Sumner, who led the pitch with CEO Nancy Hill. “As an agency, we strive to use our powers for good which aligned nicely with the servant leadership philosophy of Festival Foods. Our mutual desire to benefit our associates, our partners, and our communities makes us the perfect fit.”

Contenders in the review were not revealed.

“We’re excited to take this leading traditional brand and modernize its marketing,” said Hill. “Having data and insights work in real time for them is a differentiator that is going to take Festival Foods to greater heights. Our media team played a heavy role in this pitch by identifying opportunities to take a personalized media approach using data that will increase the Human Metric for Festival Foods. We can’t wait to see it unfurl.”

Marcus Thomas has some category experience, having worked in CRM marketing for Kroger in the past. Atkinson said the company embraced the agency’s long-term vision for Festival Foods’ growth that includes helping to shore up in-house talent. 

A new, integrated campaign is set to break next spring.


About Festival Foods
Founded in 1946 as Skogen's IGA, Festival Foods is a Wisconsin family- and employee-owned grocer that is committed to giving back to the communities it serves and to providing guests with exceptional service and value. The company began operating as Festival Foods in 1990 and today employs more than 7,500 full- and part-time associates. Festival Foods currently operates 32 full-service supermarkets across the state of Wisconsin. For more information about Festival Foods, visit:

About Marcus Thomas

Marcus Thomas LLC, with 280 professionals in its offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Santiago, Chile, is among America’s leading national independent agencies. With a collection of category experts under one roof, Marcus Thomas is a recognized leader in creative, media, public relations, and social media and technology. The humble midwestern agency founded in 1937 is regularly honored for its award-winning campaigns and as a best place to work. Whether working on hyper-local media strategies or creating spots that run on massive stages like the Super Bowl, its suite of integrated services continues to be its massive differentiator.

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