Y&R, Chicago, Lands YMCA's Creative Review

Move Gives Community Organization a National Agency of Record

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Y&R, Chicago, has picked up advertising duties for the YMCA -- or The Y, as it now calls itself -- after a review, according to people familiar with the matter.

The WPP agency referred calls to the client, and the Y said it would not comment until it had a signed contract.

Ad Age first reported news of the review, which was for national creative work, in July.

Prior to the review, the Y did not have a national agency of record. Agencies that have worked on YMCA advertising in the past include: Omnicom's BBDO, Chicago; sibling agency GSD&M; and the former independent Kohnke Hanneken, which was eventually absorbed by Milwaukee-based Laughlin/Constable. It also worked with Preston Kelly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and Agency Creative in the Dallas market. Some local agencies work for the Y on a pro bono basis, but the national duties handled by Y&R will be paid.

The search for agencies comes a year after the YMCA rebranded as The Y , a reimagining for which it hired Omnicom Group's Siegel & Gale.

For Y&R, Chicago, the win helps to offset a bit of the revenue lost in the Sears review earlier this year. Dentsu's McGarrybowen was named the struggling retailer's lead creative agency in May.

Y&R was Sears' longtime lead shop, and didn't lose all of the business; it has held onto the some of the brands, including Craftsman and Die Hard, as well as some other Sears business units. Y&R had been with Sears since 1993.

The Y, which was founded nearly 160 years ago, in 2010 upped it U.S. measured-media spending by 15% to $7.8 million, according to Kantar, up from $6.7 million in 2009, though it is not specified whether that spending figure is the sum of local advertising or a national budget.

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