Obama's Roster of Agencies Grows

Five Additional Shops Enlisted for Campaign Team

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A day after becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is expanding its ad-agency team for the November election.

Continuing to lead the team are Chicago agency AKP&D Media and Message, and Washington agency GMMB, the latter a unit of Omnicom Group. Chief strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe are from AKP&D. Veteran GMMB strategist Jim Margolis and Mr. Axelrod have headed the ad team, while Mr. Margolis and fellow GMMB strategist Jason Ralston have also produced some of the ads during the primary campaign.

The new agencies being enlisted are Murphy Putnam Media, Washington (which worked on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's presidential bid, including some well-received tongue-in-cheek ads); Squier Knapp Dunn Communications, which handled Bill Clinton's last race for president; Shorr Johnson Magnus, Philadelphia, which fielded Sen. Chris Dodd's campaign for president and has done numerous Democratic campaigns; and Dixon Davis Media, Washington, which handled the advertising for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., an avid Obama supporter.

SS&K reappears
The Obama campaign is also formally enlisting SS&K, New York, as a part of what is now being called "The Obama Media Team." SS&K had earlier done some project work for the campaign.

The media team also continues to include Fuse Advertising, St. Louis, for African-American advertising; Message Audience and Presentation, Austin, Texas, for Hispanic advertising; and Strategy Group, Pasadena, Calif., to coordinate strategy. GMMB will continue to buy the campaign's media.

Mr. Margolis today said the additions reflect the presidential campaign's need for more resources and that it's possible more agencies will be added later. "We will continue to lead the media effort and production, but it's a big country and [more shops] can add real value," he said.

Debate ideas floated
The Obama ad team was announced today as both sides in the presidential race raised the possibility of a series of joint town-hall meetings or Lincoln-Douglas-style debates. Sen. John McCain's team proposed a series of town-hall meetings around the country with both candidates present. The Obama campaign, while saying it would look at the proposal, suggested holding more open-ended and longer debates around the country.
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