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Blockbuster Issues RFP for $80 Million Account

Agency Presentations Slated for Next Month

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Months after parting with its creative agency of record, Southfield, Mich.-based Doner, Blockbuster's account is officially in play.
Ad spending at Blockbuster has been up and down in recent years, but this year it looks to be up.
Ad spending at Blockbuster has been up and down in recent years, but this year it looks to be up.

According to a request for proposal, the Dallas-based movie rental giant wants an agency that can handle integrated-marketing services, including strategic brand planning, retail strategies, and direct and in-store marketing.

Presentations are slated for mid-January, and the marketer aims to make a final decision by Jan. 18. A Blockbuster spokeswoman declined to comment.

The video rental chain spent $86 million in advertising for the first half of this year.

Fate of media duties uncertain
Whether the review has an impact Blockbuster's media duties, handled by Camelot Communications, Dallas, is unclear. Representatives for Camelot could not be immediately reached.

Doner Chairman-CEO Alan Kalter last month said his agency dropped Blockbuster in September after nearly a decade due to a plummet in ad spending at the retailer. "There is no advertising spending whatsoever, currently or forecasted," Mr. Kalter had said at the time.

Ad spending at Blockbuster has been up and down in recent years, according to TNS Media Intelligence figures. U.S. measured-media spending for Blockbuster totaled $65 million in 2004, then more than doubled to $154.2 million in 2005, before sinking to $44.7 million in 2006. But, for the first six months of this year, Blockbuster spent $86 million, of which $80.7 million was devoted to marketing the Blockbuster.com online store, according to TNS.

Keeping up with Netflix
Blockbuster's review comes as the marketer attempts to keep up with online movie-rental rival Netflix under the guidance of a new chairman-CEO, James W. Keyes. Mr. Keyes, a 20-year veteran of 7-Eleven convenience stores, this summer replaced former Blockbuster Chairman John F. Antioco.

Industry executives have speculated that Mr. Keyes would reach out to familiar agency partners such as Omnicom Group's Tracey Locke and GSD&M Idea City or independent agency Richards Group.

"If Jim Keyes decides to hand the business over to an agency he worked with at 7-Eleven, I wouldn't be surprised," Mr. Kalter said back in November.
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