PetSmart Hands Over Creative Account to Bernstein-Rein

Independent Shop Beat Incumbent Leo Burnett, Richards Group

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CHICAGO ( -- PetSmart has awarded its $45 million creative advertising account to Kansas City, Mo.-based Bernstein-Rein.

The independent shop beat the incumbent, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, independent Richards Group and Omnicom Group's Martin-Williams for the account. The client announced it was holding a review in May, citing a policy of reviewing vendor relationships every three to five years. The pitch was managed by Select Resources.

Said Rich Stoddart, president of Leo Burnett North America: "We have had a very productive relationship with PetSmart for some three years and are proud of the work we have delivered in that time. We wish them every success in the future."

Soaring sales
The publicly traded chain of more than 1,000 pet-supply stores has seen sales soar this year despite the economic downturn. Sales climbed more than 11% during the second quarter.

Bernstein-Rein has been seeking more retail business ever since its 2006 split with Wal-Mart. It has some pet-care experience via its ongoing work for Bayer Animal Health.

For Burnett, the account loss comes at an inopportune time, as the agency is already bracing a spending cut by General Motors Corp. and a closer examination of budgets from Procter & Gamble Co. The marketers are two of its largest clients.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh and Natalie Zmuda
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