The National Association of Realtors brokered an arranged marriage between Townsend & O'Leary in Laguna Hills, Calif., and Richardson, Myers & Donofrio in Baltimore, to handle its estimated $33 million, three-year advertising contract.
T&O will create advertising, while RM&D will handle media planning and placement. The two shops will share strategic planning. There was no incumbent on the account.
When the client decided to launch a national campaign, it looked at work from individual states, including Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and California, according to T&O executive vice president and partner John Most. It was T&O's work for the California Association of Realtors that initially attracted the NAR.
"[The client] had been looking at this program the California Association of Realtors had run for about a year, and the research showed it was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing," said RM&D president Chuck Donofrio. "They decided to license that and work with Townsend. They came to us because they felt they needed another viewpoint on media. We made some presentations, and we felt that this would be a perfect situation where collaboration would be better than competition."
Facilitating the relationship was the fact that both agencies are members of Worldwide Partners, a global network of communications firms.
The two spots created by T&O for the California group will be adopted for national use. Regions may tag them with their own realtor associations, Most said. Two new spots will break in early July, one targeting first-time buyers and the other aimed at the nonresidential segment of the market. Production will begin in mid-March. Media will include national broadcast, radio spots, four-color magazine spreads, newspaper and outdoor ads.
One project already completed is a password-protected Web site enabling members to access advertising and marketing materials.