CEA Picks Up ImproveNet, Lear

Reviews Lead Shop Into Online Home Improvement, Auto Supply
CHICAGO–Campbell-Ewald Advertising has come out on top in reviews for online home improvement resource ImproveNet and auto supply giant Lear Corp.
ImproveNet’s creative and media account is valued at $20 million. The review, run by search consultancy Select Resources International in Los Angeles, came down to CEA, Warren, Mich., and Marc Advertising, Pittsburgh.
Semifinalists cut earlier included Chicago shops Leo Burnett and Cramer-Krasselt; BBDO West, San Francisco; US Web/CKS, Cupertino, Calif.; and McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C.
ImproveNet, headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., split with Left Field, San Francisco, last fall, after only a few months there. The 4-year-old company provides consumers and professionals with online information (www.improvenet.com) on contractors, architects and lenders for remodeling and home improvement work.
An ImproveNet representative said the firm could say little about its marketing plans under CEA, citing a Securities and Exchange Commission-mandated quiet period as it prepares to go public later this month. The IPO is expected to raise about $35 million. Investors in the company include GE Capital and Microsoft.
CME’s Lear Corp. win, meanwhile, is significantly smaller, with billings estimated in the $1-5 million range. Lear conducted an informal review that included incumbent SMZ Advertising in Troy, Mich.
A representative for the Southfield, Mich., company declined to name additional competitors.
“We were interested in what other creative talents were out there,” said Lear representative Karen Stewart-Spica.
The assignment includes creative as well as media buying and planning. The company is expected to increase spending as it looks to expand beyond its traditional alliances with major automakers General Motors and Ford.
The business-to-business account will include some radio and outdoor work in addition to sales promotion materials. Lear’s reach is global, with approximately half of its $12 billion in annual sales tallied overseas.
Lear sells a wide range of original equipment to automakers, and is the world’s biggest supplier of car seats.