Alcott+Routon Goes Beyond DM With KinderCare Account

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Alcott+Routon, Nashville, TN, a direct marketing shop, will evolve into a full-service marketing agency after being named agency of record for KinderCare Learning Centers.

The decision to expand comes 2 1/2 years after A+R was named to handle direct marketing work for KinderCare, Portland, OR. Slaughter Hanson, Birmingham, AL, lost part of the KinderCare account that A+R didn't already handle.

"I think what this really is all about is which agency in the future needs to be the lead agency," said Jim Alcott, president and chief operating officer of A+R.

A+R, started six years ago as a direct marketing agency for financial services, now has clients in banking, healthcare and childcare. Besides KinderCare, other accounts include Wachovia Bank, National City Bank, Acxiom and the Federation of Independent Businesses.

A+R's new marketing persona debuts this month with a 1 million-piece direct mail drop to mothers and households with children aimed at spurring enrollment to the approximately 1,200 KinderCare centers for children 9 years old and younger. Other media in the plan include radio in 19 markets and a cable TV test in four cities.

"This is in time to increase the enrollment for back-to-school space," Alcott said. "KinderCare is obviously the market leader, and the focus really is on education, and so our charge was to most cost-effectively use the media options that were available to communicate that education message."

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