Ward’s Media Lands at BBDO

One week after its media buyer closed its doors, Montgomery Ward & Co. awarded its $75 million account to BBDO Chicago.

The shop pitched the account over the summer during a review involving undisclosed competitors, said Mike Hedge, BBDO Chicago’s director of media services. “I was told it was a competitive review and it was possible the business could have remained with the incumbent,” Hedge said. That possibility ended when BKN Media shut down its Chicago office last week.

“Fortunately, we had done this [review] process; and given the BKN situation, it was easy to go back to [the other contenders] and form a deal,” said Rob Claxton, Ward’s director of marketing. The retailer had not come to a final decision about its media review when BKN opted to close its media operations.

BKN’s parent company, BKN Inc., is getting out of the media business to focus on its two-year-old animation studio, BKN Studios.

Ward’s was familiar with BBDO through its corporate parent General Electric, a client of BBDO New York. The agency’s presentation demonstrated how the retailer could use cable and Hispanic media more effectively, Hedge said.

BBDO’s Chicago office will oversee planning, re-search and regional buying for the retailer’s television and radio. Local buying will be handled by BBDO’s Local Media Network. Creative will remain at Laughlin/Constable in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Though BBDO is not known for pitching media-only accounts, Hedge said the agency is equipped to handle the business.

“It draws upon the strengths we’ve already built for our full-service clients,” Hedge said, adding the shop may need to add staff.