Burnett Wins Carpet Job, Rethinks Its Structure

CHICAGO-Leo Burnett has been selected to handle the Carpet and Rug Institute’s account after a competition with crosstown rival DDB Needham. The win allowed Burnett a bit of retribution after losing creative control on the McDonald’s account to Needham a week earlier.
The CRI account is no remnant. The association, based in Dalton, Ga., said it intends to spend $100 million over four years on multimedia consumer programs to promote carpeting. Burnett will handle media planning and buying as well as creative development.
Dick Corelitz, the former managing partner at Bozell here who joined CRI as marketing director earlier this year, said the organization has plans to begin advertising in the fourth quarter. Burnett unveiled its creative concepts in its final presentation.
The Institute represents carpet manufacturers and suppliers, he said, and it now will discuss ways it may want to augment or modify the campaign. CRI’s marketing is funded by member contributions tied to sales volume. If advertising boosts carpet sales, spending could exceed the planned budget of $25 million per year, Corelitz said.
The CRI win came as Burnett management was wrestling with the question of staff reductions in the wake of the agency shift at McDonald’s. It is anticipated that cutbacks will be announced soon.
Sources also said that agency chairman Rick Fizdale is examining ways to change the internal structure of account and creative department management in its U.S. operations. Those changes, which may be instituted within the next month, may alter the agency’s culture, but not its core, said agency sources.
Burnett will not pursue an initial public stock offering it was rumored to have considered, these sources said. The agency said it is evaluating future staffing needs, but declined comment on any possible changes.