McCann Replaces Goodby on Baseball Team’s Account

LOS ANGELES The Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team has signed McCann-Erickson for ad chores, the client has confirmed.

The Interpublic Group shop, which landed the $2 million A’s assignment without review, will handle creative and media. (McCann also handles $20 million in ad chores for MLB.)

The A’s account had been with Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco for the past year. Last fall, Goodby bested WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson in the final round of a review to win the business. Jeff Huggins, currently executive vice president and co-chief creative director at McCann in San Francisco, was with JWT at the time and he kept in touch with A’s vice president of sales and marketing David Alioto. Shortly after joining McCann six weeks ago, Huggins received a call from Alioto for a meeting.

“They’d come to agree with me that the A’s have a marketing problem, not an advertising problem, that the approach should be tactical and community based to be more effective,” Huggins said. “And I’m a passionate fan of the A’s, and they wanted an agency that has that passion and accurately reflects the organization.”

Last season the A’s “had the biggest attendance since 1992, I guess they couldn’t handle the crowd,” said Goodby, Silverstein partner Jeff Goodby.

Alioto said the team enjoys strong walk-up ticket sales but weak corporate support. He would like the new campaign to bring in more season ticket sales and five- and ten-game plans via Internet, direct mail and event marketing, not just through spots, he said.

The team will also launch its first Hispanic ads through McCann. “But it has to be more than that,” said Alioto. “We have to reach that community in every way we can.”

Last year, the A’s spent $2 million on ads and $1 million through August 2003 (before the club reached the American League playoffs, losing to the Boston Red Sox in the first round), per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.