REI picks BBDO and Prometheus for agency work

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Outdoor retail cooperative Recreational Equipment Inc., more popularly know as REI, has selected two Omnicom agencies to lead its ad­vertising initiatives. BBDO Atlanta will handle its national creative advertising and Prometheus Media Services will manage its media buying.

The multichannel retailer, which has about 100 stores in 27 states and a di­rect sales division with catalog and online operations, spent two months searching for an agency and, just before the Christmas holiday, announced the choice of the Omnicom agencies.

According to Rob Cherof, EVP and CMO at BBDO Atlanta, the new part­nership has the right fit culturally.

“There are a lot of real outdoor en­thusiasts in our office who were already members of the REIco-op, so we knew the brand well and were able to think about how they might approach adver­tising,” Cherof said.

REIlet associates from both of the agencies shadow REIsales associates in retail stores, to help them come up with relevant ideas for their pitch.

“REIis very collaborative in how they work,” Cherof added. “Most clients don't let you shadow them until you have won the account, but they were very open with us.”

In the past, REIhas focused its marketing efforts more closely on thein-store experience. At each store, managers look to hire outdoor enthu­siasts as employees, so that they can share their first-hand experience with REI's outdoor products to sell the REIbrand to customers.

The two Omnicom agencies courted REItogether. “We have a great working relationship with Prometheus and that's why we went after REIwith them to­gether,” said Cherof.

The selected agencies will support REI's traditional advertising programs of radio, newspaper and outdoor, as well as digital and interactive programs.

BBDO Atlanta will provide strategic planning, creative and implementation of advertising programs and Prometheus will service the company's media plan­ning and buying requirements.

Creative efforts resulting from the work of BBDO and Prometheus will first appear with REI's spring campaign, launching late March 2008.

While the creative is still unknown, the three firms are spending a lot of time getting to know each other.

“Our goal right now is to get familiar with their agenda and what is on their horizon,” Cherof added

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