USPS Awards Ad Contract to Campbell-Ewald

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Three agencies of The Interpublic Group of Companies have won most of the $104 million U.S. Postal Service advertising contract that begins in September, the USPS said.

Campbell-Ewald will be the lead creative agency while DraftWorldwide will handle direct marketing. Initiative Media North will handle media planning and buying. Staff from all three agencies working on the USPS account will work from Campbell-Ewald's Warren, MI, headquarters.

The contract is for two years, with options for three more years. The agencies were selected after a three-month review that began with 21 agencies. The other finalists were Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York; Grey Global, New York; Young & Rubicam, New York; Foote Cone & Belding, New York; and Arnold Worldwide, Boston.

Reportedly, the USPS asked agencies to present approaches to update the postal service's image given heightened competition from the Internet and private delivery services.

The major goal of the selection process "was to consolidate responsibility in a single agency instead of spreading work over four agencies as we had been doing," said Larry Speakes, manager of USPS postal advertising. "That will provide continuity across all aspects of our account and, at the same time, result in substantially reducing costs."

Currently, Foote, Cone & Belding's FCBi unit in New York, part of the FCB Group unit of the Interpublic Group, handles the direct marketing component of the USPS account. Other current agencies include Frankel, part of the Publicis Groupe, for in-store and point-of-purchase ads; MediaCom Worldwide, New York, part of the Grey Global Group, for media buying services; and Leo Burnett USA, part of the Leo Burnett Worldwide unit of the Bcom3 Group, Chicago, which is the lead agency for strategy, creative and production.

The USPS will continue to use three multicultural agencies: Bravo, Chisom-Mingo and Asian Partners. About $10 million of the advertising budget is dedicated to these areas.

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