The Reform Party has put its trust in Love Advertising for the Buchanan/Foster 2000 presidential campaign.
The Houston agency is handling both creative and media duties on the $12.6 million account, funded by the party's own war chest and federal-matching monies.
Love, a $23 million, 17-employee firm that recently marked its 30th year, became agency after a review that included several Houston contenders because, said LA president Brenda Love, "[campaign finance manager] Clymer Wright was put in charge of finding a shop and he happens to live here." Finalists included Fellers in Austin, Texas, and Manlove Advertising in Houston.
Love's experience in political advertising has previously been limited to a handful of election campaigns for local judges.
"That wasn't a drawback at all," said Love. "They wanted a fresh approach, someone who would do something different both in strategies for the media and for creative."
Radio spots began airing last month nationwide, following the party's convention and nomination of Patrick Buchanan and running mate Ezola Foster.
Television will hit the second week of October with widespread spot network buys and some cable. Love declined to comment on the nature of the initial creative work. Spec creative produced during the pitch focused on the issue of getting Buchanan into the debates, she said, "but that issue went away."
To date, the agency is coping with the help of a few freelancers to produce a campaign of national import, Love said.
"It has been real interesting. [They] have been wonderful people to work for," she said. "My people are just working their fannies off. That's what I can tell you."
Another Texas agency, Austin-based Maverick Media, is handling advertising for presidential candidate George W. Bush.