4 Shops Chase Bone Marrow Registry (Updated)

DKMS Americas dangles fee-based assignment

Some fairly big agencies have lined up to pitch DKMS Americas, an organization that facilitates bone marrow transplants.

Among the four New York shops competing for DKMS’ business are Grey and TBWA\Chiat\Day, DKMS has confirmed. The others are SS+K and Vitro.

DKMS aims to build awareness around its efforts to match blood cancer patients in need of transplants with donors. The organization describes itself as the largest bone marrow donor center in the world. 

The advertising assignment, which includes both creative and media efforts, is new and covers the U.S. and U.K. markets.

As a non-profit, DKMS will seek a mixture of donated media time and corporate partners to pay for media, according to George Moringer, the head of global marketing and branding. The cumulative value of that media time is estimated at $20 million a year.

This isn't a pro-bono assignment, however. DKMS is dangling a fee-based relationship. So, in that sense, this cause marketing effort differs from most.

In addition, the assignment represents a significant strategic challenge. “This is not necessarily about [people] donating money,” explained a source. Rather, the source added, “how do you get people engaged and involved?”  

DKMS executives briefed the contenders last week, and final presentations are slated for mid-September. Ark Advisors in New York is managing the process.