CAMPBELL-EWALD WINS U.S. POSTAL CONTRACT

Ad Account Estimated at $136 Million a Year

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- The U.S. Postal Service today said it named Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald as the winner of an advertising account that could be worth $136 million a year.

Campbell-Ewald, which bid with siblings Initiative Media and DraftWorldwide, won a two-year contract with three optional years.

The decision was a blow to the several incumbent agencies that had the account for less than a year. The incumbents included Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, for creative; Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York, for direct marketing; Publicis Groupe's Frankel, Chicago, for point of purchase; and Grey Global Group's MediaCom, New York, for media buying. The Postal Service, however, is keeping its three multicultural agencies: WPP Group's Bravo, Chisholm-Mingo Group and Asian Partners.

The incumbents all participated in the review in partnerships with other agencies.

Financial pressures
The review was prompted

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in part by the financial pressure the Postal Service faced as the Sept. 11 attacks impacted mailing volume and the subsequent discovery of anthrax-laden mail.

Those two events dramatically affected Postal Service revenues and costs as customers held off or canceled mailings and decontamination procedures drove up postal costs.

A Postal Service official said today the agency will see a savings from having a single ad contract. The Postal Service's four main ad contracts -- for creative, direct marketing, point of purchase and media buying, which were just awarded in September 2000 -- were put out for bid again, but this time as a single contract.

Increased spending
The Postal Service had cut its advertising spending to about $90 million this year, but said it intends to spend $110 million a year and that the account is for $136 million a year, counting the extensive non-media work.

The review was made up of Burnett, which bid with the Leo Burnett Customer Group and Starcom Worldwide; Bcom3's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, bidding with Clarion and MediaVest Worldwide; Grey Global's Grey Worldwide, bidding with MediaCom; WPP's Y&R Advertising, paired with Wunderman and Media Edge; Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, with Publicis Groupe's Frankel; and Havas' Arnold Worldwide Partners and Brann Worldwide, with Arnold MPG for media buying.

Keeping Burnett campaign
Postal Service officials did not hide that cost savings, not creative considerations, were behind the review. When the agency launched a new campaign Feb. 25 from Burnett, postal officials made it clear they liked the effort so much that they intended to keep it when a new agency came on board.

Replacing the old tagline "Fly like an eagle," developed by FCB in 1998, with "Brought to you by the U.S. Postal Service," the new campaign branched out into a variety of messages aimed at businesses as well as consumers.

"It's a solid line and a worthy successor to our old 'We deliver for you,'" Larry Speakes, the postal service's ad manager, said at the time. "This one has legs and brings joy and emotion."

When the Postal Service resumed advertising in December in the wake of the anthrax letters, the first ads came from Grey, not Burnett, even though it had won the account in September 2000.

The Postal Service had asked all its media agencies for ideas, and Postal Service officials liked the Grey concept, forwarded by MediaCom, of using black-and-white portraits of postal carriers accompanied by postal creed. Not until late February were Burnett ads back on the air.