Horizon Wins $40 Mil. Ace Account

Hardware-supply dealer co-op Ace Hardware Corp. has awarded independent media shop Horizon Media its $40 million broadcast buying bus iness, without a re view. Media planning and print buying remain at Ace’s creative shop, Campbell Mithun, Chicago.

The advertiser moved its account because of conflict, said Stella Barrett, Ace media manager. Its previous broadcast buying shop, TN Media, was absorbed into Interpublic Group’s Initiative Media North America following IPG’s acquisition last June of True North Communications. Ace had worked for 16 years with former TN brand agency Bozell, which became CM following the IPG purchase.

The absorption into Initiative put the Ace broadcast buying account on a collision course with Home Depot, which is handled by Initiative. IPG’s other media network, Universal McCann, handles Lowe’s, another Ace competitor.

“The appeal of Horizon was also the fact that they have a lot of retail experience, are very much focused on advertising ROI, and with their independence, they don’t have the bottom-line pressures we would ex perience with our previous agency,” said Barrett.

Also facilitating the choice was the recent arrival at Horizon, New York, of vp, national broadcast group supervisor Bruce Heim, the former TN Media executive who worked on Ace’s network buying for 16 years, she added.

Ace has 4,800 stores in all 50 U.S. states. The company reported 2001 sales of $2.9 billion.