BestBuy.com awards DDB $50 mil acc't

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Best Buy Co. awarded the $50 million advertising account for its soon-to-be-launched e-commerce play, BestBuy.com, to DDB Worldwide, New York.

The agency's New York office--along with its DDB Digital unit and DDB Downtown brand consultancy--will work closely with the retailer's in-house agency on the ad launch. BestBuy.com is expected to go live in late May.

DDB's coup comes as its New York office last week lost Compaq Computer Corp.'s $350 million global business.

DDB bested Grey Worldwide, New York, to win the BestBuy.com business, which encompasses creative as well as media for online, offline and direct marketing. The decision caps a six-month search.

The retail chain had planned to launch BestBuy.com by late in the first quarter, but technical and off-line-integration issues slowed the process (AA, Jan. 24).

The nation's No. 1 consumer electronics retailer plans to sell all the products and services offered at its more than 350 stores via BestBuy.com. Currently, it sells only movies, music and software online.

"We're looking at it from a channel-agnostic, consumer-centric point of view," said Barry Judge, VP-marketing for BestBuy.com. The retailer wants consumers to have a seamless experience whether they shop online, offline or both, Mr. Judge said. Integrating the chain's offline operations with online activities is expected to prove a challenge.

"We wanted an agency to provide an integrated communications message. We didn't want to split it up," Mr. Judge said. "There will be a tremendous amount of integration."

SECONDARY RESEARCH

To win the account, DDB "did a tremendous amount of secondary research" into brick-and-mortar retailers that also have online stores, such as Toys "R" Us and Barnes & Noble, said John Berg, chief operating officer for DDB, New York. The agency's pitch team also traveled around the U.S. to visit Best Buy stores to help it understand the chain's shopping experience.

Best Buy expects to leverage its $100 million "Turn on the fun" campaign launched in January in the BestBuy.com effort as well.

John Staffen, creative director at DDB Downtown, who DDB executives said was instrumental in the creative development for the pitch, is expected to influence the tone of the forthcoming effort.

"The majority of our customers in the store are already online," said Mike Linton, senior VP-strategic marketing, Best Buy. Interactive stations will be placed in stores for online shopping, he added.

Mr. Judge said the first work from DDB is expected this summer. In addition to traditional media, DDB will create an in-store promotional presence for BestBuy.com.

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