CRISPIN LOSES ANOTHER SLICE OF IKEA

Agency Taken off L.A. Assignment; Retains U.S. Work

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Ikea Systems has dropped Crispin, Porter & Bogusky from its Los Angeles business, less than a month after taking the agency off its Canadian advertising accounts.

Crispin said Los Angeles represents about

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10% of the retailer's North American operations. Ikea spent $39 million in measured media in the first 11 months of last year and $31 million in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Local agency for Canada
Ikea said it would hire Zig, Toronto, for its Canadian creative account and Aegis Group's Carat for media services. The work had been handled by Crispin, which is 49% owned by MDC Partners. An Ikea spokesman last month denied the Swedish furniture chain had any quibbles with Crispin. The Canadian assignment represented about 20% to 25% of the Ikea business handled by Crispin.

The agency said Ikea's Los Angeles market is unique, having been developed through acquisitions rather than being built up by Ikea. Given its specific business challenges, "it would be best to isolate that portion of the business," the agency said.

Pleased with Crispin
An Ikea spokesman said the company was pleased with Crispin but that it wanted to use a smaller agency in Los Angeles, where it has four stores and wants to try something different. It tapped Santa Monica, Calif., independent Secret Weapon for creative and will look for a local media agency. Crispin handles U.S. media duties.

Jeff Steinhour, partner and director of account service at Crispin, in a statement said the agency would work with Ikea to "assure that the national brand identity stays consistent with whatever individual efforts they undertake."

Ikea's U.S. operations are based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Last fall, Ikea was discussing a possible consolidation of European planning and buying as part of a broader analysis of media in all markets. The Swedish retailer has hired media and creative agencies on a regional basis. It is expected to launch a search for a U.S. Hispanic agency soon.

Burger King workload?
The Miami-based Crispin won Ikea in 2002 after a review. In January, it picked up Burger King's $335 million account, which some observers predicted would overwhelm the hot shop and lead to a client exodus.

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