The account, handled in-house, bills $8 million, but should grow substantially next year after the parent company breaks out Blockbuster Music as its own business unit. Agency sources said the kitty could be much larger, however, as they sense a chance to pitch the whole $100-million ad account, the bulk of which is handled by Bernstein-Rein/Kansas City. Lintas:New York works with Blockbuster in the New York region, but sources said the agency was not in the music pitch,
While he confirmed discussing the music operation with agencies, Brian Woods, vp/national marketing for the Fort Lauderdale-based client, denied the entire account could be in play. "We're staying with our present agency," he said. "However, it's difficult to meet with an agency without them giving their opinions on something as big as Blockbuster Video."
Blockbuster, the world's largest video retailer with nearly 3,200 stores in the U.S. and overseas, invaded music retailing in November 1992 when it acquired the Sound Warehouse and Music Plus chains, which operate over 250 music stores in 40 U.S. metro markets.
While LNA/Arbitron reported that Blockbuster spent a total of $48.5 million on measured media in 1992 (with Blockbuster Video billing $40 million and Music Plus/Sound Warehouse billing a combined $8 million), Woods said that when local and franchisee ad spending is thrown into the pot, the firm spends about $100 million per year; most of it in network and spot TV.
Woods stopped short of saying a review is underway. "We have heard some presentations from agencies regarding our music business but we are not in an official agency search mode--it's very informal," said Woods. "The music business is the most obvious area where we might need agency support."
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)