TruServ’s $50 Mil. Hits the Marc

Hardware Cooperative Consolidates Account at Pittsburgh Shop
CHICAGO–A strategic platform first developed more than year ago helped Marc Advertising secure TruServ Corp.’s $50-60 million account, executives said.
The hardware co-op becomes the Pittsburgh shop’s biggest client, and the win is expected to affect all of its regional offices, including K&R Marc in Chicago, where a client service director will be added.
TruServ plans a major image campaign for its True Value brand beginning in March, with spending perhaps four times the $15 million laid out in past years, said Tom Filipski, the Chicago company’s senior vice president for advertising, marketing and business development.
“For the past few years we’ve been kind of quiet,” Filipski said. “We’re not going to be quiet in 2000.”
TruServ split with lead agency Leo Burnett, Chicago, in September. Marc became a roster shop in December 1996, when the company acquired the ServiStar–which Marc handled–and Coast to Coast chains. Both will be absorbed under the True Value name next year.
In 1997, TruServ asked Burnett and Marc for a branding campaign. Burnett’s work, tagged, “Anything to help,” debuted the next year, but was not embraced by co-op members. Marc “outlined a strategic process” that won out, said Michelle Fabrizzi, the agency’s president.
“If you’re going to brand a hardware store, you have to understand the whole category,” Fabrizzi said.
Filipski took his current position in June and embraced Marc’s ideas. No other shops were considered, he said. Media buying and planning, previously at Burnett’s Starcom Worldwide, also move to Marc.
While Fabrizzi would not divulge details, the new work will aim to differentiate True Value from home improvement operations such as Home Depot.
The win may not have been possible a year ago, before Marc acquired shops in Chicago, Indianapolis, San Francisco and New York. (It is also targeting Dallas and Boston.) After a year of umbrella branding, TruServ plans a more regional approach, Filipski said.