Leo Drafts Outsiders for Army

Ethnic agencies in the Bcom3 network didn’t pass muster for Leo Burnett’s pitch to the U.S. Army.
Instead of using its Lapiz Hispanic unit and Vigilante, a shop specializing in African-American and urban marketing, Burnett partnered with Cartel Creativo in San Antonio and Images USA in Atlanta to win the Army’s $95 million contract over finalist Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich.
In doing so, the Chicago shop acknowledged that to work politically, an ethnic ad shop has to be minority-owned.
“We knew in working with the government the importance of partnering with minority-owned agencies,” Burnett chief executive officer Linda Wolf said.
Burnett has stayed out of the government arena in the past due to a reluctance to let outsiders peer into the agency. But Bcom3’s impending public offering led the Chicago agency to decide it could withstand the public scrutiny inherent in accepting government contracts.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Wolf said. “This is a whole new arena for us.”
Bcom3 sister company Starcom USA will handle media duties on the account.
The four-year, $380 million contract is new for the Army because it will employ fee-based incentives on top of a basic contract. Wolf said details had not been finalized, but she expected some of those incentives to be tied to “attitudinal changes” as well as to recruitment, which in many cases is not directly related to advertising.
The agency’s first work is expected this fall. Long-running tag “Be all you can be” could be jettisoned. “We will analyze it and make sure that it’s still relevant today,” Wolf said.
Incumbent Young & Rubicam, New York, did not participate in the review. K