LeapFrog to TBWA\Chiat\Day

LOS ANGELES TBWA\Chiat\Day has won creative chores for phonics learning systems company LeapFrog, the client confirmed.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based client considered several agencies, selecting the Omnicom Group shop, “based on the changing needs of our business, including our expansion globally as well as the strength of creative and strategic thinking. They are going to be a great partner,” according to Kathryn Olson, the client’s chief marketing officer.

LeapFrog spent more than $40 million on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The client spent less than $5 million in measured media through the first six months of 2006.

Olson would not disclose the names of other shops considered for the business.

Olson said upcoming projects for the Playa del Rey, Calif., agency include promoting the Little Leap learning system for 9- to 36-month-old toddlers and Leapster TV, a console-based learning system. The company will make a significant push in the fall and through the holidays, she said.

“It has been a labor of love from day one, and the people with the most love for the brand are going to run the business, [associate creative directors] Margaret Keene and Chris Adams,” said Rob Schwartz, executive creative director at TBWA\C\D. “What’s perfect about the relationship is that LeapFrog has a history of products that defy convention and that is perfect simpatico for us.”

The incumbent, independent Ackerman McQueen, Dallas, had been with the company for a decade. Olson said that the most recent television campaign ran last autumn and used a long-running theme line, “Another learning breakthrough from LeapFrog.” The agency won a Grand Effie from the New York American Marketing Association for LeapFrog [Adweek Online, June 9, 2004].

Beginning with only two products at its founding in 1995, LeapFrog has grown to 1,000 employees and $17.5 million in revenue on gross sales of $650 million in 2005, according to the publicly traded company’s annual report.

The company created the popular LeapPad, and its SchoolHouse division sells directly to educational facilities, competing against Mattel and other manufacturers of learning-oriented toys. Products range from those in pre-school through high school, including the Fly “pentop computer.” Jeff Katz is the president, CEO and director.