Final Battles for Navy, Air Force

Four agencies have emerged as finalists for the U.S. Navy’s $40 million account: Bates Worldwide, Campbell-Ewald, Young & Rubicam and incumbent Rapp Collins Worldwide, which is partnering with fellow Omnicom Group shop Martin/Williams, sources said.

Each contender gets three hours to present creative ideas; a client panel will then ask questions, according to sources.

The pitches, which will take place at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., begin today with the team of New York direct marketing shop Rapp Collins and Minneapolis agency Martin/Williams, sources said. Next up: Campbell-Ewald, Detroit, on Wednesday, followed by New York shops Bates on Thursday and Y&R on Aug. 29. Lead incumbent BBDO Worldwide is not defending [Adweek, Aug. 14].

In an unusual twist, the Navy asked participants to submit creative work before they made presentations. Each will be limited to using those materials. The Navy hopes to select a new shop by Oct. 1—the start of the federal government’s fiscal year.

Separately, the U.S. Air Force is entering the final stage of its $50 million review. Six contenders—incumbent Bozell Kamstra Texas, Irving, Texas; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Image Media Services, McLean, Va.; SiegalGale, New York; TMP Worldwide, Washington, D.C.; and one undisclosed agency—may be pared down this week, sources said. Like the Navy, the Air Force will consider creative presentations and hopes to select a shop by Oct. 1.

One Air Force contender, meanwhile, has shot new TV spots that are expected to break next month, sources said. The new campaign, from SiegalGale, marries images of Air Force personnel with music and introduces the tagline, “No one comes close.” —with Aaron Barr and Tanya Irwi