Ritz Camera Picks Barber Martin

Retailer Is Impressed by Richmond Agency’s Category Experience
ATLANTA–Retail experience and some good old-fashioned Southern charm helped Barber Martin & Associates of Richmond, Va., top three New York agencies for the Ritz Camera Centers account.
The $60 million shop will handle all broadcast creative and national media placement. The retailer will continue to do its print advertising and catalog work in-house.
Competitive Media Reporting listed total expenditures of $10.4 million for Ritz in 1998. An ad industry source projected Barber Martin’s billings will amount to $3-4 million.
Ritz Camera of Beltsville, Md., began contacting agencies in January to discuss its account, which had been at Lois/EJL in New York for the past three years. That agency defended against Barber Martin and two other New York finalists,DeVito Verdi and Grace Rothschild.
Barber Martin, agency for retailers Adolf Jewelers and Heilig-Meyers Furniture Stores, had the right mix of business and personality to win the account, according to representatives for Ritz.
“We were . . . looking for an agency with a lot of retail experience,” said Ritz senior media buyer Gretchen Adams. “Retail-oriented agencies were not that high in number. Barber Martin was very impressive [from that perspective], and they had a great creative reel.”
“We were enamored with them as a group,” said client director of advertising Bob DiVita. “We were originally drawn to them by word of mouth. They were very easy to talk to . . . We thought they were refreshing.”
DeVita said Ritz wants a campaign that will re-establish “photography is fun, and [Barber Martin] showed us that they understood that mission. We gave them very little direction, but they worked quickly . . . [and] put a good package together for us.”
Barber Martin is the second largest agency in Richmond, behind The Martin Agency. Annette Ringwood, business development director for the shop, said, “We’re liking being No. 2. It’s opening up a lot of doors to us. There are a lot of clients looking for a medium size agency in this market, where we’re not going be an overwhelming size for them.”