The book seller picked the agency after a review that included independent shop Richards Group, Dallas, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis. Interpublic sibling Campwell Ewald, Warren, Mich., had been working for Borders on a project basis.
Borders spent $11.2 million in measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. A Borders spokeswoman did not return calls by press time.
Crispin Porter takes over on creative at a time when Borders is facing challenges from a number of fronts, such as online bookseller Amazon.com and discounters like Wal-Mart, which are taking away sales on best sellers.
In March Gregory Josefowicz, Borders Group's president-CEO and chairman, described 2002 to Wall Street analysts as a "rough" year, with a "weakness in book sales that were flat at best and music sales that remain in decline." He said in 2003 Borders will focus on a "specific, dedicated and sustainable promotional marketing program that will generate weekly exposure to our core customer base through a variety of vehicles, ranging from newspaper ads, e-mail promotions ... that carry a strong message delivered throughout the stores."
Chuck Porter, chairman of the Miami-based agency, which is 49% owned by Maxxcom, said Borders, with its cafes and ambiance, provides consumers a "more rewarding" place to shop for books, music and movies than discount stores. Mr. Porter said an exact strategy for the brand has yet to be developed, but media plans include traditional media as well as viral efforts.