Ackerman's NRA Work Makes It a Contender for More Firepower
BOSTON--Ackerman McQueen of Oklahoma City is among less than 10 shops that will pitch the new account of the National Shooting Sports Foundation in Newtown, Conn.
Ackerman, agency of record for the unaffiliated National Rifle Association since 1981, will be among the contenders whom the client hopes can produce an advertising campaign to improve its public image in the wake of recent high-profile shooting deaths across the country.
"We want to correct some very real and obvious misconceptions on the part of the American public on the use of firearms," explained Bob Delsay, president of the association.
Delsay confirmed the search, adding that he was looking at fewer than 10 shops from across the country to act as agency of record. The winning agency will handle both advertising and public relations. The ideal partner, Delsay said, will have experience in the firearms arena.
A final decision is expected by the end of August. The NSSF has not worked with an agency before, Delsay said.
The base budget was estimated by sources at $3 million but could grow substantially. The selected agency will also be called upon to handle legislative is-sues, sources said.
Ackerman president, chairman and chief executive officer Angus McQueen confirmed the shop's participation but declined to comment further.
Ackerman launched a new print campaign in June for the NRA that, in mirroring the NSSF charge, attempts to right a faltering image. With actor Charlton Heston elected president of the NRA, AM has resurrected the 1980s "I'm the NRA" campaign. As expected, the effort has drawn fire from handgun-control advocates who likened the work to 1950s cigarette ads featuring doctors who promoted smoking.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation was formed in 1961 by business leaders who wanted to provide their industry with a professional communications and marketing organization.
In the 35 years since its inception, the NSSF has grown to be the shooting sport industry's largest trade organization, encompassing more than 1,300 members that include manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers.
If Ackerman wins the account, it would follow its recent appointment to handle consolidated 1999 ad duties for Premier Parks and the newly assigned $5-10 million telecommunications and energy marketing work for Williams in Tulsa, Okla.
.....--with Glen Fest