Farmers Selects SRI to Lead Creative, Media Search

LOS ANGELES Select Resources International has been tapped to oversee the review for creative and media duties on Farmers Insurance’s ad account, according to sources.
The Santa Monica, Calif.-based consultancy declined comment. The client, based here, could not be immediately reached.

Though the client has historically spent $40-50 million annually on ads, recent spending in the overall category has skyrocketed, and Farmers has been a part of that industry trend. The company spent $160 million last year in domestic measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The company’s ad outlay exceeded $40 million in the first quarter of 2008 alone, per Nielsen, and could reach almost $200 million by year’s end, sources said. Sources said Geico, which yesterday unveiled new ads featuring its familiar cavemen characters, is driving the category with its estimated $400 million annual ad spend.

Farmers confirmed last week that it has put its business in play. The incumbent, Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald here, the 12-year incumbent, is defending.

“Campbell-Ewald has been our ad agency and business partner,” said Jerry Davies, director of media relations, Farmers, last week when he confirmed the review. “We have demanding performance expectations and we are reviewing all our capabilities and resources to make sure we are positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities in a rapidly changing marketplace.”

Davies said Farmers is “delighted that Campbell-Ewald will be part of the competition for this account.”