Saatchi Wears Contacts

After entering the review late in the game, Saatchi & Saatchi’s San Francisco office was selected to handle creative and media planning for 1-800-Contacts, sources said. Total account billings are estimated at $18 million.
The shop pitched against D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles; Rubin Postaer and Associates, Santa Monica, Calif.; and Gotham, New York, in presentations two weeks ago.
Creative work, which consisted primarily of direct mail and direct response TV ads, was previously handled in-house. Empower MediaMarketing in Cincinnati (formerly Media That Works) retains media buying.
Saatchi was not in the original round of finalists for the contact lens marketer’s business, but was added later in the review [Adweek, March 15]. Los Angeles consultancy Select Resources International conducted the search for the Draper, Utah-based client.
SRI executives referred calls to the client. The client did not return calls at press time. Agency executives declined to comment.
1-800-Contacts is a direct distributor of contact lenses via telephone and its Web site (
Other original contenders in the search, which began late last year, included DDB Needham, Los Angeles; Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco; and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York [Adweek, Jan. 4].
The company was founded in 1995 by president Jonathan Coon, who still controls a 40 percent stake. Its sales have jumped from $21 million in 1997 to more than $60 million last year.
The client’s largest rival is Lens Express, which uses spokeswoman Lynda “Wonder Woman” Carter in its ads.
Separately, SRI is currently conducting reviews for Del Webb Corp., Del Taco, SunAmerica and Bugle Boy Industries.
–with Jane Irene Kelly