Atlantans Get 30-Day Trial After Aborted Shootout With Richards
ATLANTA–WestWayne here has tentatively won the creative portion of the University of Phoenix’s $17 million advertising account. The agency will develop a general creative strategy for the client over a 30-day trial period before a final commitment is made.
The media segment of the account was awarded to the San Diego office of Western Initiative Media, which has been working on a limited basis with the educational institution.
WestWayne’s victory came in an aborted shootout against The Richards Group. The Dallas shop was not given the opportunity to unholster its creative guns.
“[WestWayne] presented to us last week and that’s who we chose,” said Lysa Hlavinka, the Arizona university’s new advertising director. “[Richards] didn’t go through the second step of the presentation phase.”
A representative for Richards first said her shop had withdrawn from the search at the last moment. She later amended her remarks, however, to say the agency was still in the pitch, and had not heard from the client.
The creative account had previously been serviced by a number of agencies, with each handling a different campus through a separate marketing manager.
“With our continuing growth, it had become obvious after a review of our incumbent agencies that we needed to centralize our image and brand ourselves more consistently,” said Hlavinka. “We were paying over and over again for similar advertising campaigns.”
Hlavinka said the university sent out requests for proposals to 10 national agencies, then selected the two finalists.
If hired at the end of the month-long trial period, WestWayne will handle branding, creative work and public relations.
“The main reason we’re waiting is [this] is such a major change. We want to make sure we have the infrastructure in place to make such a major move,” explained Hlavinka. “We also want to be totally sure that [WestWayne] understands who we are, we understand how they work, and we can make it work together.”
The University of Phoenix has approximately 62,000 students enrolled at 74 U.S. campuses and learning centers. Offering both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, it directs its programs primarily to the continuing education needs of working adults. –with J. Dee Hill
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