MARTIN WINS FURNITURE CHAIN'S ACCOUNT

To Handle Creative, Media, PR for Thomasville

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Thomasville Furniture has consolidated its business with the Martin Agency, which is preparing to help the North Carolina-based company celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

The upscale mass-market furniture manufacturer selected Martin, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., to handle creative, media planning and buying, and public relations. The agency competed against five other mid-sized shops that Thomasville declined to name.

Former agencies
Mitch Scott, Thomasville's vice president of marketing, said the company had previously worked with Boston-based independent McCarthy Mambro Bertino for creative and split with the agency over "economic reasons," following the departure of Thomasville CEO Christian Pfaff. Mr. Pfaff was replaced by Tom Tilley on May 1. Publicis Groupe's Starlink had handled media planning and buying, while public relations was with independent Ruder Finn, New York.

According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Thomasville spent $7.4 million on corporate advertising last year, while its dealer network spent $16.3 million. Both the agency and Thomasville claim that ad spending in 2004 will be larger than that, but declined to give precise figures.

New creative in February
Martin Agency, which currently handles Vanilla Coke, Nascar and Hanes, is expected to unveil new creative for Thomasville around mid-February. Mr. Scott said corporate and the dealers would work more closely in future to make the most of their marketing budgets.

The company also commissioned a study from Omnicom Group's Interbrand to guage how its brand is perceived in the market. Thomasville, whose current tagline is "Where Style Lives," will brief the agency on the report's conclusions in the next two weeks. Thomasville's main competitor is Ethan Allen.