Dr. Phil Taps Campbell-Ewald

Straight-talking advice maven and syndicated television personality Dr. Phil McGraw has turned to Campbell-Ewald to promote his self-help books.

The Santa Monica, Calif., office of the Warren, Michigan-based agency was hired after a national review. The move is a departure for McGraw, who has never used an agency for his previous titles. (The review was conducted by McGraw and his literary agency, Dupree/Miller & Associates in Dallas.)

One factor in Campbell-Ewald’s selection was its female-targeting unit, Women2Women Communications Group, said Dupree/Miller CEO Jan Miller.

Campbell-Ewald’s first task is to launch McGraw’s weight-management guide, The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. The title, from Simon & Schuster’s Free Press, is due Sept. 9. In addition to designing the book cover, Campbell-Ewald, an Interpublic Group shop, will handle TV, outdoor and newspaper advertising and in-store displays.

“The key is to [convey] the Dr. Phil tone—it’s a straightforward, get-real approach,” said Campbell-Ewald executive creative director Debbie Karnowsky.

While Campbell-Ewald and Dupree/Miller both declined comment on ad spending, sources estimated the client would spend $3-5 million.

McGraw could not be reached for comment.

His previous titles, including Life Strategies, Relationship Rescue and Self Matters, have all made The New York Times bestseller list, but Miller said upcoming books require a stronger push because “the brand is becoming so significant.”

There are 9 million copies in print of McGraw’s books.