Barkley, Evergreen Finds A Pearle

Optical Chain Moves $40 Mil. Account to K.C. Shop From McCann
CHICAGO–Barkley, Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo., has landed optical retailer Pearle Vision’s $40 million account.
Philip Alexander, vice president of marketing at the Cleveland-based client, confirmed the assignment shortly after the disclosure last week that it had ended its 15-month relationship with McCann-Erickson in New York.
Alexander said the decision to split with McCann was mutual. Sources said conflicts had emerged, with the company seeking more retail-focused advertising and the agency wanting a more brand-oriented approach.
Pearle began a closed review about a month ago, Alexander said. He declined to name contenders, but sources said BE&P pitched alongside three other agencies: Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich.; W.B. Doner & Co. in Southfield, Mich; and Wyse Advertising in Cleveland.
Pearle spent about $17 million on advertising in the first six months of 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Sources valued the account at $40 million annually.
BE&P president Scott Aylward said the $150 million, employee-owned agency will hire more employees to service Pearle, which looks to be the shop’s second-largest account, behind Sonic Drive-Ins. The agency was restructured last year, adding capabilities and staff to attract new national clients, and that expansion will aid in absorbing the account,
Aylward said.
“The structure we put in place was designed to manage this kind of growth,” he said. “We’ve gotten ahead of the curve when it comes to staffing.”
There are no immediate plans to open a Cleveland office to service Pearle, but “if it makes sense [in the future] … so be it,” Aylward said.
McCann picked up the account in June 1997, succeeding GSD&M in Austin, Texas, which declined to participate in that review. At that time, Pearle was in the process of relocating its headquarters from Dallas to Cleveland, where its parent Cole National is located. McCann’s work was tagged, “What are you waiting for? Get your Pearles on.”
BE&P was invited to Pearle’s agency review last year, but did not get beyond the first round. Alexander was familiar with the agency from a stint with BE&P client Western Auto (now Parts America) and had maintained contact over the past year.