Marks First Agency Partnership for Retailer

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NEW YORK ( -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, stung recently by several high-profile losses, today won a branding assignment from Babies “R” Us, the successful spin-off of parent Toys “R” Us.
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Two-month review
A spokeswoman for the marketer, Beth Swanson, said Babies “R” Us conducted a two-month review that included several undisclosed agencies before selecting Deutsch. The chain has not disclosed the size of the account.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Babies “R” Us spent $5 million on U.S. measured media in 2004.

First ad agency
The assignment with Deutsch marks the chain’s first partnership with an advertising agency, Ms. Swanson said.

Deutsch was contender in a review to handle the Toys "R" Us ad account before dropping out in April 2004. WPP Group's Y&R now handles the Toys "R" Us division. The win comes at an opportune time for Deutsch: The agency recently lost accounts such as lead status on creative portion of Gap's Old Navy chain, the creative aspect of, Revlon and Mitsubishi Motors of North America.

Ms. Swanson said the company wouldn’t disclose what the branding assignment would be, only that Babies “R” Us hopes to create a brand that reflects the goals and values of the company and its consumers.

Val DiFebo, managing partner and general manager at Deutsch, in a statement said: “We look forward to working with them to develop a brand identity that will resonate with their internal and external audiences effectively and powerfully." Deutsch would not comment otherwise on the account.

220 stores
The Wayne, N.J.-based retailer is the world’s largest baby product specialty store chain, with 220 stores in the U.S.

The Babies "R" Us assignment came three months after Toys "R" Us agreed this March to be acquired by an investment group including Bain Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and real estate firm Vornado Realty Trust. The deal is set to close in next month.

Ms. Swanson said the chain had $1.86 billion in net sales that accounted for 17% of the total net sales of parent Toys “R” Us in 2004.

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