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CP+B Answers Geeks' Call

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NEW YORK Best Buy has awarded MDC Partners' Crispin Porter + Bogusky branding duties for its "Geek Squad" computer repair team, the electronics retailer said.

Geek Squad advertising efforts had previously been handled in-house.

The Miami-based agency's first campaign for the squad is expected to launch in March and include TV commercials, print ads and in-store components. The Geek Squad spent nearly $25 million on ads last year and almost $15 million so far in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

"We're very excited to be working on the Geek Squad business," said shop CEO Jeff Hicks. "It's a powerful brand with amazing growth potential."

The squad was founded in Minneapolis 12 years ago as an independent service; Best Buy acquired the operation in 2002.

Geek Squad members are known for their attire reminiscent of FBI agents from the 1950s, with black clip-on ties, short-sleeved white shirts, black pants and black shoes and white socks.

Best Buy launched an introductory campaign for the squad in 2004, touting the tech team's tireless dedication to 24-hour rapid response and repair. The work showed a woman crying out when her computer malfunctions. Squad members way across town hear her plea, rush to her location and make short work of her problem.

The effort was noteworthy for not mentioning the Best Buy affiliation. When it was aired, Ruby Anik, vp, advertising at Best Buy, told Adweek, "We wanted to establish the brand promise and unique proposition of the Geek Squad brand first."

Home electronics marketing has been especially active of late, with lots of agency changes in recent months. Just this week, Circuit City named Havas' Euro RSCG as its lead creative shop, while Panasonic selected independent StrawberryFrog for its pan-European advertising.

Along with CP+B and Best Buy's in-house agency, which will continue to handle some chores for the Geek Squad, the initiative's communications team includes Avenue A, Ketchum, Organic and Starcom.