U.S. Postal Service Chooses UM as Its Media Agency

Shifts From Campbell-Ewald, But Stays in the Interpublic Family

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The U.S. Postal Service has selected Interpublic Group of Cos' UM as its media agency, Ad Age has learned.

A USPS spokeswoman confirmed the UM appointment but declined to provide additional details at this time. Campbell-Ewald and UM didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The selection follows a full-service review that began over a year ago. After the initial stages of the review, the government agency halted the process to reevaluate its needs. In a change of course, it also split the initial request for proposal into two briefs -- one for creative and one for media. The new search began this fall. The results of the media review came before the conclusion of the creative review, which is expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2013, industry executives said.

For Interpublic's Campbell Ewald, which had handled creative, media and direct marketing for over a decade, the loss isn't a great way to start off the new year. But it does keep the business within the family, as the Postal Service has partnered with CE's holding company parent, Interpublic. For example, DraftFCB has supported promotion and retail and Weber Shandwick will handle public relations.

USPS spent $95.8 million on measured media in 2011, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. Despite the crunch it's facing, the organization outspent other government megabrands, including the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, by double.

Still, the USPS media budget shrunk 11% between 2010 and 2011. And future growth in spending is even less clear, as the government agency recently reported a record $15.9 billion annual loss. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, "officials say without congressional action the agency is likely to run out of cash within 12 months."

However, media outlets have reported that USPS CEO Patrick Donahoe said he did not plan on asking for monetary support from Congress.