B&N Asks for Shops’ ‘Coolest’ Achievement

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest bookseller, asks agencies to name “the coolest thing you’ve done in the last 12 months” among more standard capabilities questions in an RFP for its $10 million account.

Barnes & Noble issued its RFP through New York consultant Susan Friedman. The questionnaire asks shops to provide information on their capabilities and retail experience, and résumés for the people who would run the business.

The chain now handles most of its advertising in-house; Digitas, New York, continues to work on interactive and direct projects.

A short list of agencies will be prepared by the end of February, with presentations set for March, sources said.

Chairman Leonard Riggio, CEO Stephen Riggio and Glenn Kaplan, director of advertising and creative director, are the key decision makers at the client, sources said.

Calls to Kaplan were referred to the consultant. Friedman confirmed the review, saying “a process is in place,” but declined to give further details.

The New York-based company’s creative assignment will include print, radio, outdoor, Internet and event marketing, and possibly TV, according to sources.

Barnes & Noble posted 2002 sales of $4.9 billion, up 11 percent from about $4.4 million in 2001. Competitor Borders’ sales were up 3.6 percent to $2.4 billion from about $2.3 billion during the same period.