True Value consolidates $50 mil account at Marc

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TruServ Corp. has consolidated its newly fattened $50 million account at Marc USA. The Pittsburgh shop, which handled the ServiStar, Coast to Coast and True Value paint brands, picks up the corporate campaign that Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, resigned in September.

With the win, Marc takes on a newly renovated TruServ, a company not only consolidating its ad accounts but also itself.

In September, the retailer said it would discontinue the ServiStar and Coast to Coast retail identities, and blend its 8,000-plus units under the True Value umbrella. The co-op's advertising and other resources will now be deployed under that banner.

"With the onslaught of marketing initiatives by all varieties of retailers competing for consumer attention, well-known brands are paramount to our success," TruServ CEO Don Hoye said at the time.


In order to stave off competitors, the hardware retailer will dramatically increase its marketing and advertising budget, according to Tom Filipski, TruServ Senior VP-advertising sales and marketing. The ad account, originally estimated at $25 million to $30 million, could swell to $50 million to $100 million.

"For the last two years, we've been relatively quiet," Mr. Filipski said. "We're not going to be quiet in 2000."

TruServ may have to be loud to stand out among its competitors. The company not only competes with similarly structured retailers such as Ace Hardware Corp. and Do It Best Corp., but also with warehouses such as Home Depot and Lowe's Cos. Home Depot is ranked No. 1 in the $152 billion home-improvement market, with annual sales of about $30 billion. It's trailed by Lowe's, at $13.3 billion, according to the National Home Center News.

TruServ ranks No. 1, with $4.3 billion in sales, in the $9.8 billion co-op market.

Competitiveness has affected other agency assignments, too. Lowe's shifted its $100 million account to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, in June.

Mr. Filipski wouldn't disclose details of TruServ's marketing plan, but said the advertising will "focus on the number of retail stores and speed of shopping experience."

A consumer TV, print and radio effort is slated to break in March. Marc Chairman-CEO Tony Bucci said the effort is a "total repositioning" of the brand.

Marc also will do trade advertising and regional promotions. Previously, Marc had handled a $5 million to $10 million account for TruServ, while Burnett's piece of the business was estimated at $20 million.

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