KO All Ears for GN ReSound

Minneapolis Agency Picks Up Hearing Aid Account After Review
CHICAGO–Hearing aid marketer GN ReSound tapped Kruskopf Olson as its advertising agency of record.
GN ReSound, Eden Prairie, Minn., a subsidiary of Denmark’s Great Nordic Corp., selected the Minneapolis agency after an informal review of Minneapolis-area agencies, including Olson & Co. and Lynch Jarvis Jones, said David Roback, director of marketing communications for GN ReSound. SMG, San Francisco, was the incumbent on the account.
Company officials felt Kruskopf Olson has an “intuitive understanding” of the company’s mostly business-to-business distribution structure, Roback said.
Billings were not disclosed. However, Jean Koelz, vice president and management supervisor at Kruskopf Olson, said the account would be the $25 million shop’s second largest account in terms of revenue. The shop’s largest account, the retail division of air mattress marketer Select Comfort, spent $10 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
However, billings would not produce a clear picture on the client’s worth, Koelz said. “A lot of the work is not going to have traditional billings,” she said.
The agency feels the time is ripe for the hearing aid client.
“We’re very excited to work with what we perceive to be an untapped industry,” agency president Sue Kruskopf said of the win in a statement. “As America ages, we could be talking about epidemic hearing loss.”
Despite that, Koelz admitted that hearing aids still must overcome a perception problem with baby boomers reluctant to see themselves as old.
“If we can get [baby boomers] over the social stigma of wearing a hearing aid, there’s a huge growth potential,” Koelz said.
GN ReSound has a 14 percent market share of hearing aid sales worldwide and had revenues of $210 million in 1998, according to the company’s Web site.
Great Nordic recently acquired hearing aid marketer Beltone Electronics, Chicago, for nearly $400 million. Beltone will operate as an independent subsidiary in the U.S. and its $3-5 million advertising account is expected to remain at Euro RSCG/Tatham in Chicago.