Best Buy to Rely on Crispin at BBDO's Expense

Retailer Shifts Focus From Branding to Geek Squad Unit

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CHICAGO ( -- Crispin Porter & Bogusky will be handling the bulk of advertising in 2009 for Best Buy, dealing a blow to Omnicom Group's BBDO, which did the heavy lifting on the retailer's $380 million account this year.

Crispin handles duties for Best Buy's Geek Squad customer-support unit.
Crispin handles duties for Best Buy's Geek Squad customer-support unit.
The client plans to focus overwhelmingly on its Geek Squad customer-support unit -- which Crispin handles -- at the expense of the traditional branding work it gets from BBDO, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Best Buy spokeswoman didn't immediately return a call seeking a comment about the move, which comes barely a year after BBDO bested Crispin in a review to take on creative duties on the Best Buy branding account.

Run of new business
The win continues a run of new business for Crispin, which added Microsoft and Old Navy this year, though it did fall off Nike's agency roster in a rare setback. A Crispin spokeswoman referred a call to the client.

The move also adds fresh pain for BBDO, which is dealing with the recent defection of the flagship Pepsi brand business in the U.S. and is on tenterhooks waiting to see if key client Chrysler will manage a government loan. Today BBDO eliminated about 189 positions, or about 6% of its North American work force.

A BBDO spokesman said Best Buy's shift is "not something we haven't been aware of and planned accordingly for." He also said the agency recently shot a round of spots for Best Buy and has some work on the air now. He referred further questions to the client.

Spending of $380 Million
Best Buy spent $380 million in measured media during 2007, although the marketer did say in September it intended to cut some marketing costs in the second half of this year.

Best Buy's agency roster also includes Minneapolis boutique Barrie D'Rozario Murphy, which handles its Home Life home-appliance unit. It appears to be unaffected by this shift.

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Contributing: Natalie Zmuda