H&R Puts $100 Million Account in Play

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Just two weeks before April 15, H&R Block, Kansas City, Mo., has placed the bulk of its $100 million account in review after two key account staffers at its agency jumped ship.

The tax preparer, which is repositioning as a financial services company, plans to launch a formal review shortly to replace Y&R Advertising, Chicago and other agencies in its roster. David Byers, senior VP and chief marketing officer, will choose a consultant this week to handle the review, which he expects to complete by June.

The review includes global general advertising, handled by Y&R Advertising, Chicago; Media Buying, handled by The Media Edge, New York; direct marketing and sales promotions, handled by Wunderman Cato Johnson, Chicago; Hispanic marketing, handled by Bravo Group, New York, and interactive marketing, handled by Nicholson, New York. The only assignments that are not up for grabs are public relations, handled by Fleishman-Hillard, Chicago, the brand identity work at Landor Associates, San Francisco, and software design assignment at VML, Kansas City.

Block officials were happy with the latest work from Y&R which broke in January, but the departures of the "key architects'' in the campaign required a review, said Mr. Byers. John Matejczyk, worldwide creative director on the account, left Y&R to join Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and David Skinner, worldwide account director, left to join an online company incubator. Y&R will be invited to participate, said Mr. Byers.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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