Goodby Aces Hardware Review

Ace Hardware and its new agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, are planning a John Madden-free image campaign that will continue the chain’s long-running message of helpfulness.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based company chose the San Francisco shop following a review that came down to WestWayne in Atlanta, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, incumbent Campbell Mithun in Chicago and the eventual winner.

Most of Campbell Mithun’s work has been promotional, with NFL analyst Madden booming out the latest bargains. The agency last year produced an image campaign tagged, “Life is an ongoing project,” which ran for 13 weeks.

Madden will continue to appear in promotional spots, but he’ll be ab sent from Goodby’s main branding work, not expected for at least six months, said Frank Rothing, director of corporate advertising.

Goodby offers the potential for a higher level of creative, part of what the chain hopes will set it apart from competitors, Rothing said.

Rothing assumed his post on May 1 in the midst of the review, coming over from rival Tru-Serv Corp. to replace Sheryl Flaws. Rothing took over the process after the four finalists had been selected.

He offered no specifics on what’s expected in Goodby’s branding campaign, but he said the company is “looking at a different creative approach.”

Advertising will continue to “stress helpful solutions to everyday needs” as Ace copes with competition from hardware chains like Tru-Serv as well as big-box stores like Home Depot, Rothing said.

At Tru-Serv, Rothing oversaw a 2000 branding campaign from MARC USA that positioned the chain as a helpful partner for home im provements with the tag, “Help is right around the corner.” That work showed how Tru-Serv stores could help consumers finish home projects, saving time for leisure activities.

While lauding Goodby’s creative reputation, Rothing said the shop’s “ability to execute in many different areas,” including collateral and in-store, was key to the win.

Media buying for the $30 million account remains at New York-based Horizon Media.