LOS ANGELES - A string of awards is all Stein Robaire Helm here has to show for its $10-million Ikea U.S. West account. The Scandinavian furniture retailer last week served notice on the agency that it was moving the business to Deutsch/Dworin, the N.Y. shop that has handled advertising for the client's East Coast division and has coveted the account since it was split some three years ago.
The Ikea business and its ongoing work for Gallo finally gives Deutsch/Dworin the reason it has sought for some time now to hang a shingle in L.A. In addition, president Steve Dworin said the agency has had discussions with Taco Bell for its 'Tweens' marketing/promotion effort and hopes to get a future assignment.
Dworin said last week that he and Ikea will have to work out in the next 90 days what kind of office Deutsch will open. 'It could be just a hotel suite to start, or maybe we'll take space in a building, we don't know yet.' But, said Dworin, 'there is no question that we want to be in L.A., and eventually go after new business from the West.'
An Ikea executive offered no comment and said the company would have an announcement to make this week.
SRH has handled print and outdoor creative responsibilities, as well as media buying duties for Ikea West, since 1990. Last year, the agency also picked up the broadcast creative assignment based on the success of the print and outdoor. SRH won a Bowl and finalist certificates for its work for Ikea at this year's Belding awards as well as a national Obie award. But award-winning advertising doesn't always sell product, and, though Ikea does not release sales figures, sources believe the Western region has been underperforming the East in floor traffic and sales.
The original strategy of using two agencies came from recognition that the East and West markets were vastly different, and each sales organization wanted its own agency.
Deutsch has been advertising agency for Ikea U.S. East since 1989 and the West Coast win brings its billings up to $25 million with the client. Since the shop won the account in 1989, executive vp/creative director Donny Deutsch has had his eye on the West as well, seeking to make Ikea a national account.
Executives at SRH did not return phone calls.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)