YMCA Begins Search for Ad Agency

CHICAGO The YMCA of the USA is looking for a new advertising agency to develop a national television campaign. The selected agency will handle all creative and media duties for the Chicago-based community service organization.

Billings were not immediately known, though the organization spent $6 million on advertising last year, according to CMR.

Joanna Taylor, who joined the YMCA of the USA in March as chief marketing officer, is leading the search. “Our brand recognition is exceptional,” she said in a statement. “Our challenge is to identify an agency that understands the mission of YMCAs and demonstrates the ability to communicate clearly the innovative work we do with children.”

Taylor said she hopes to make a decision by June. The campaign will be the third for the YMCA since 1997, when the organization’s nearly 2,500 members united under one logo and theme, “We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities.”

There is no incumbent; the YMCA has used several shops on a project basis. A previous campaign from GSD&M in Austin, Texas, celebrated the organization’s 150th anniversary and depicted famous “alumni” of the YMCA. Television ads depicted the lives of notables such as Martin Luther King Jr., John Glenn and Susan Sarandon. The spots concluded with the line, “The YMCA. What can it do for your kid?”