Rand McNally Shifting Route to Become a Travel Services Firm
CHICAGO–Rand McNally’s search for an agency to promote its shift from a traditional mapmaker to a travel services advisor led to Leo Burnett, which will help the venerable brand transform itself for the new economy.
“We have not had an advertising agency in the history of the company. It is very symbolic of where we are going,” said Margaret Stender, senior vice president of consumer travel solutions. “We’re looking for the insight to dramatically grow the business.”
Building on its 144-year history of providing maps, the Skokie, Ill., company is looking to extend its brand to travel services, promoting its Internet site, RandMcNally.com, and electronic software offerings for personal data devices and cellular phones. Burnett was one of five agencies pitching Rand McNally’s $10-15 million account.
“[Burnett] demonstrated significant strategic insight into the new category that we’re trying to forge our company into,” Stender said.
Burnett’s campaign, which Stender described as “smart and witty,” is expected to launch late this year. “It’s going to be very contemporary and very much about helping to guide travel,” Stender said.
Initial components of the campaign may appear in Rand McNally retail outlets in the next two to four months, but the media schedule for the full launch has yet to be determined, said Chris Heivly, senior vice president of RandMcNally.com.
Joining the company in October, Heivly was one of three high-level executive appointments in the past nine months. Richard J. Davis, most recently at the helm of iMarket Inc., was named president and chief executive officer of Rand McNally in July. Former Motorola vice president Robert P. Denaro joined in April to lead the company’s Global Business Solutions. Additionally, and perhaps as important for the review, Penn French left Burnett in October to join the company as director of Internet marketing.
In moving to combine travel services and new technology, Rand McNally’s latest offerings include cordless global positioning system units for the Palm organizer, StreetFinder Deluxe mapping software and the development of its RandMcNally.com as a comprehensive online travel resource. The Web site will relaunch at the end of June with more travel planning services for consumers.
The company sells travel products through nearly 30 retail stores across the U.S. and via its virtual store on the Internet. K
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