U.S. Navy Goes Into Review

RFPs out This Week; Air Force Picks Contenders
NEW YORK–Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Air Force and Army, the Navy is launching a review of its $50-70 million account now handled by Omnicom Group’s BBDO Worldwide and Rapp Collins Worldwide, sources said.
RFPs will be issued this week, said sources, who cited a notice on a governmental Web site earlier this month. The process is being led by Cmdr. Tim Howington in Memphis, Tenn.
Like the others, this review appears to be spurred by the Pentagon’s desire to shift to performance-based compensation, which is why some of the reviews have kicked off before existing contracts have expired.
Last month, Howington contacted and met with “top 10 agencies” to pick their brains on everything from compensation schemes to basic business practices. Those meetings set the stage for a review.
It was unclear at press time if BBDO and Rapp Collins planned to defend. Both declined comment.
Recent Navy ads relied on testimonials with the tagline, “Let the journey begin.” A 30-minute infomercial that ran in February featured basketball center and Navy alum David Robinson. Education was the theme of a September spot that opened with a smiling Navy woman and ended with the line, “The Navy wants you to go to school. It wants you to succeed. And it strongly promotes that.”
Shops presenting to the Air Force include incumbent Bozell Kamstra Texas, Irving, Texas, GSD&M, Austin, Texas, Image Media Services, McLean, Va., and SiegelGale, New York. Two other contenders remained undisclosed. The first round of meetings now underway include presentations of creative strategy and a “subtask” of developing a Hispanic marketing program.
Following the first round, the Air Force will cut to two or three finalists and hand out a creative assignment.
SiegelGale was retained by the Air Force last year to handle strategic positioning and design and has been working with the incumbent agency on creative tasks.
Bozell Kamstra, formerly BJK&E, won the U.S. Army account 14 years ago in New York and transferred the account to its Texas office, where it accounts for about half the local agency’s billings.