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Retailer Taps Pro Media, Now Mulls 'Boutiques'

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After tapping Pro Media for buying chores on its $10 million advertising account, America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses is planning to hire a new agency for its creative assignment.

The Pennsauken, N.J.-based chain, which intends to sever its ties to Doner, does not plan a full-blown review. It is considering employing a "boutique-sized" agency for creative rather than handling those chores in-house, said Kelly Carter, vp, marketing for America's Best. He declined to identify shops he might consider.

"We haven't made any decisions" in terms of creative work, Carter said. "We're considering all of our options."

Southfield, Mich.-based Doner has handled creative and media duties for America's Best but will be off the account entirely in 60 days—by which time Carter plans to finalize creative plans.

The relationship soured due to "creative and strategic differences," a Doner representative said. Neither agency nor client would elaborate on the reasons behind the breakup. One source cited an inability to come to terms over compensation, but Carter said that was "not accurate."

Recent Doner efforts have included the tagline "The lowest price in sight." It is unclear whether that positioning will continue, Carter said.

Natick, Mass.-based Pro Media, pitching with creative partner Ingalls, Boston, came up short against Doner in the last review for America's Best in 1997. Fogarty Klein Monroe, Houston, also competed. Carter had kept Pro Media in mind ever since and hired the shop this time around without a review.

The 70-person shop was in need of a boost, following its January loss of Staples' media business to Grey's MediaCom after a review. That assignment, mainly broadcast placement, was estimated to be worth $50-60 million.