Bath & Body Works in Play

NEW YORK Bath & Body Works has begun a search for an advertising agency and plans to spend $30-35 million in measured media, according to a questionnaire issued to undisclosed shops last week.

Joanne Davis Consulting here is overseeing the review for the Reynoldsburg, Ohio-based client, which is owned by Limited Brands.

Davis did not return calls. It could not be determined how many agencies received the paperwork, which states that the winner will create “the first-ever complete advertising campaign for this brand.”

Sources said the client has handled creative advertising in-house.

The questionnaire describes Bath & Body as having transitioned from a “gingham check and country-inspired” operation to a “modern spa-inspired apothecary of beauty and well-being.”

Agencies must have full-service capabilities to drive traffic to the client’s 1,600 U.S. locations and to its Web site; the consumer target is 18-54-year-old women from “soccer moms to spa girls,” according to the questionnaire.

The client’s competitors are the Body Shop, Crabtree & Evelyn and Sephora, as well as department and specialty stores such as Target.

The client prefers a New York-based agency and is open to themes beyond its current “Beauty for body and soul.”

The questionnaire is due back Aug. 11, with a cut to six semifinalists by Aug. 14 and agency visits Aug. 23-24. Four finalists will be briefed on Aug. 29. Final presentations are set for Oct. 2-3.

Last year, Limited Brands, which also owns Victoria’s Secret, kept $60 million in media-buying duties at Interpublic Group’s Initiative after a review, but awarded planning to MDC Partners’ Media Kitchen. Those assignments are not affected, nor is the client’s relationship with OMG (which works on out-of-home media) and Trachtenberg (which handles public relations).