Optometrists Put Their Image in HM&P’s Hands

ATLANTA Doctors Vision Centers has selected Howard, Merrell & Partners as its first lead agency without a review, the client confirmed. Billings are under $2 million.

“[The agency] offers an exceptional creative product, coupled with uncommon research credentials and a long record of producing extraordinary results,” said Sandy Clingan Smith, vice president of marketing for the Greenville, N.C., client.

HM&P, a unit of the Interpublic Group in Raleigh, N.C., established its relationship with the client two years ago, according to agency partner Bruce Hall. “They were two-thirds the size they are now,” Hall said.

DVC has since grown to group of 85 independent optometrists in the Carolinas, Virginia and Tennessee.

The agency’s first assignment is a television campaign that will position the centers as doctors who look beyond vision exams to total eye health, according to Hall.

“The eye is an early indicator of health problems elsewhere,” said Hall. “[Doctors at DVC] feel they offer more than a prescription for glasses or contacts.”

TV spots will air in the company’s existing markets. Limited print ads will continue to be handled in-house.

“It’s difficult to do anything serious from a branding perspective with local print,” said Hall. “They’re ambitious and want to establish themselves as a regional operation.”