DraftWorldwide Makes the H&R Block Cut

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Accounting and tax services firm H&R Block Inc. has hired DraftWorldwide, Chicago, to handle direct marketing for its online solutions software publishing business, moving that responsibility from agency of record VML, Kansas City, MO.

Twelve agencies participated in the review for the Block direct marketing business of undisclosed size. VML retains responsibility for all non-direct marketing advertising.

"The challenge would be to maximize their current online and offline direct response marketing efforts," said Yvonne Furth, president and chief operating officer of DraftWorldwide's U.S. operations.

Such redefinition of direct marketing is meant to boost the prospects of Block's TaxCut tax preparation software. The agency particularly will develop loyalty programs, retention strategies and new distribution channels.

A fall campaign, whose theme is being worked on, will include direct mail and e-mail. Other forms of online advertising as well as promotional marketing are also under consideration.

Block is DraftWorldwide's first accounting and tax services account.

DraftWorldwide's New York office picked up another account. CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, a mid-Atlantic health insurer serving 3.2 million individuals and groups, named DraftWorldwide New York its direct marketing agency of record.

As part of the assignment for the Owings Mills, MD-based nonprofit, DraftWorldwide will handle campaign planning, creative development and production. The media plan includes direct response television, interactive marketing and print advertising.

The agency will buy media through ID Media, a direct response media buyer operated by DraftWorldwide, True North and Initiative Media. ID Media has planned and bought CareFirst's media for the past two years.

Creative will debut in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, DraftWorldwide in Chicago is looking for people.

"We'll be looking to add a few people, but not specifically for H&R Block," Furth said. "It's all across the board -- creative, account staff, strategic planning. Those are really the main areas."


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