Atlanta Falcons Pick WestWayne

WestWayne has won the advertising account of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta shop defeated crosstown rivals One Source and Austin Kelley Advertising, sources said, to win the franchise’s estimated $2 million account.

The incumbent on the business had been Cook Communications in Jacksonville, Fla.

WestWayne had been pursuing the business of the NFL team for more than a year, pitching marketing and promotional ideas, according to Ken Yarbrough, the agency’s director of account management.

Agency president Jeff Johnson, creative director Luke Sullivan and Yarbrough pitched the account.

A print and broadcast campaign, heavily supported by promotional efforts, is expected to break later this month across Georgia and in midsize Southeast markets within driving distance of Atlanta. These cities include Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mobile, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; and Jackson, Miss.

“Our challenge is to create a fan experience that will help the team win,” said Yarbrough. “In the NFL, the secret is to get the fan base energized so the team feels that energy and plays better.”

WestWayne stands to reap a public relations boon that may exceed the bottom-line benefits of the business.

The franchise, a perennial loser, save for a Super Bowl run in 1998, was recently purchased by Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot. Blank, in turn, has recruited former Home Depot senior vice president of marketing Dick Sullivan to coordinate the Falcons’ advertising offensive. (The Richards Group in Dallas, which handles Home Depot’s advertising, put in a good word for WestWayne during the review, Yarbrough said.)

Additionally, Blank has assembled a board of directors that now includes former Atlanta Mayorand U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Billy Payne, the man behind the city’s successful 1996 Olympics bid, and former Washington Redskins’ coach Joe Gibbs.

“The Falcons are undergoing a number of positive changes,” said Sullivan. “WestWayne’s brand-building creative will help communicate those changes to the fans.”

Blank, who has become one of Atlanta’s biggest boosters, is determined to turn the team into a winner on and off the field.

“Everything Arthur Blank touches, he’s a winner,” said Yarbrough. “He doesn’t need any more money. And he won’t settle for mediocrity.”