Is it a Comeback? Mullen Sweats Out JRAP Funds

Mullen is proceeding as though funds will be allocated for a multimedia campaign to support the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Recruitment Advertising Program, ac cording to agency CEO Joe Grimaldi.

The final budget, however, remained in question at press time last week, and a Defense Department representative said no decision will be made on this year’s JRAP funding until mid-February. The department has been considering a proposal that would eliminate JRAP spending for 2002 to free up money for the war against terrorism (Adweek, Jan. 14).

Several sources, speaking on terms of anonymity, said JRAP spending is not likely to be more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars this year. Annual spending of at least $15-20 million had been ex pected when the account was put out to bid last year.

Mullen, the Interpublic Group agency in Wenham, Mass., is looking to create ads supporting recruitment efforts for the four U.S. military branches and has begun transition meetings with incumbent agency Bates in New York, Grim aldi said. Mullen last week overcame Bates and three other finalists in a lengthy review for the account.

Leading Mullen’s pitch team were account director George Rogers and chief creative officer Edward Boches, along with art director Michael Ancevic and copywriter Tim Roper—all of whom will work on JRAP should the work proceed.

Sources said Mullen presented work that eschewed overly military or patriotic themes and focused on the role the armed services play defending the homefront. Review committee chair Anita Lancaster noted in a statement: “They con vincingly showed how to craft a meaningful and motivating mes sage without merely relying on flag waving.”

Grimaldi downplayed the funding question, referring to JRAP as part of a recent agency comeback. Other new wins include Nextel Communications’ retail outlets and eyeglass company FosterGrant.