The National Association of Realtors brokered an arranged marriage between Richardson, Myers & Donofrio in Baltimore and Townsend & O'Leary in Laguna Hills, Calif., to handle its $32.4 million, three-year advertising contract.
RM&D will handle media planning and placement, T&O will create advertising and the two shops will share strategic planning. There is no incumbent.
It was T&O's work for California realtors that attracted the NAR. The client decided to launch a national campaign, and looked at work from individual states including Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and California, according to T&O executive vice president and partner John Most.
"[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."
It did not hurt that the two agencies were members of Worldwide Partners, a global network of communications firms.
The two spots that T&O did for the California group will be adopted for national use. Regions may tag them with their realtor association, Most said. New work will break in early July and consist of two new spots: one targeting first-time buyers and the other aimed at the nonresidential segment of the market (apartment, strip mall and office building owners). Production will begin in mid-March. Media will include national broadcast, radio spots, four-color magazine spreads, newspapers and outdoor.
One project already completed was a password-protected Web site that enables members to gain access to advertising and marketing materials.