Ace Hardware has named O'Keefe, Reinhard & Paul its new agency after a review.
Omnicom's GSD&M had been the lead agency on the account since 2009, though the the agency did not participate in the review. According to people familiar with the matter, finalists in the review were Interpublic's FCB, Escape Pod, OKRP and Schafer Condon Carter, all in Chicago, not far from the company's Oak Brook, Ill. headquarters. There was no search consultant involved in the review.
Jeff Gooding, senior director of consumer marketing and advertising at Ace said that the marketer chose OKRP, in part, because of its small business mindset (the shop is a two-year-old startup), which he said matches that of its store owners, who have some 4,400 U.S. locations. "Their insights and creative were strong and straightforward, and we're a straightforward company," he said. He also noted that the agency took the time to understand the company's culture, which is based on being a source of advice for consumers who like do-it-yourself home improvement projects.
Mr. Gooding said it's not yet clear when new work from OKRP will launch. The company's media agency is Publicis Groupe's Spark, which won the account in 2013.
OKRP is a relatively young agency, launched in March 2013 by former FCB executives. Since its launch, the shop has worked on Pizza Hut's Wing Street, as well as other Yum brands projects and Turtle Wax. The agency is perhaps best known for its holiday work for Big Lots last year.
Ace has recently put an emphasis on the paint category. Last year, Interpublic's FCB worked on the rollout of Ace's new paint department, an effort between Ace and Valspar, with a campaign called "Helpful is beautiful." Valspar is an FCB client.
Ace in 2014 upped its U.S. measured media spending to $63 million, up from $52 million the prior year, according to Kantar Media. In 2012 Ace spent $47 million.