Initiative Wins More Big Lots Media

NEW YORK Interpublic Group’s Initiative has added planning, digital and local buying duties on Big Lots stores following a review. The agency already handled the national buying portion of the business.

The Columbus, Ohio-based client, a wholesale retailer with locations mostly in the South and Midwest, spent $45 million on advertising in 2006, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Rob Claxton, svp, marketing at Big Lots, said the new duties account for “more than 50 percent” of his company’s media billings.

The newly added business had previously been with SBC Advertising of Westerville, Ohio. The incumbent participated in the review, which consisted of three or four other undisclosed agencies.

A representative at Initiative called the win significant not only from a new-business standpoint, but because the agency had been trying to build up its planning capabilities since the arrival last fall of North American CEO Richard Beaven, who previously oversaw planning on the Procter & Gamble account for Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest.

Big Lots continues a string of recent wins for Initiative, including the consolidated $400 million media planning and buying account for Bayer’s consumer care division in February and the $120 million planning and buying business for cosmetics company Revlon earlier this month.

“This latest win creates further momentum for us partnering with clients who are as excited about leveraging the new opportunities across the communications landscape as we are,” said Beaven in a statement.

The account is run out of Initiative’s Atlanta office.