Farmers Insurance Picks Richards Group for Media

Farmers Insurance has selected The Richards Group to handle creative and media duties on its ad account after a review, Farmers Insurance said today.

The other finalists were not disclosed. The client’s major media spending totaled $150 million-plus last year and $65 million in the first nine months of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Richards, an independent in Dallas, succeeds Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., on the account. C-E had handled the business for more than a dozen years.

“Farmers Insurance has a powerful story, and we wanted the best possible advertising partner to help us tell that story,” said Kevin Kelso, chief marketing officer at Farmers Insurance, which is headquartered in Los Angeles. “Our search was thoughtful and thorough, and we are excited to begin working with The Richards Group.”

Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., managed the review.

“Farmers Insurance is an iconic American brand with an opportunity to reestablish its competitive position within the category, despite being outspent by its peers,” said Pete Lempert, principal at Richards.

The insurance category has heated up considerably, with most insurers trying to catch up to Geico, which is now spending over $400 million annually (not including online spending), per Nielsen. Farmers Insurance Group is now owned by Zurich Financial Services.