U.S. Navy Picks a New Agency After 15 Years With One Shop

Young & Rubicam takes over for Lowe Campbell Ewald

Young & Rubicam is the U.S. Navy's new agency, following a mandated review in which Lowe Campbell Ewald defended one of its largest accounts of 15 years, sources said.

Last year the Interpublic agency, now reconfigured as part of the Mullen Lowe Group, received a contract extension until a review could determine the winner of a five-year contract beginning this year. The agency last defended the business in 2009.

Last year the Navy spent $39.6 million on measured media, according to Kantar Media.

A Y&R representative declined to comment and a Campbell-Ewald rep said the agency could not comment on "rumors" at this time.

The new contract runs for a full year, followed by four one-year options that extend through 2020. As budgeted, spending in the first year will total $84 million, according to the Department of Defense. Y&R will handle traditional, digital and mobile advertising as well as account and media planning, research, public relations and events.

In 2009, Lowe Campbell Ewald produced the tagline "America's Navy. A global force for good." to attract young recruits, but last year the Navy began phasing out the line after negative feedback from active-duty sailors, veterans and the American public. Earlier this year, the agency produced a new spot, "Pin Map," which positioned the Navy as "Around the world, around the clock."

Losing the Navy business is the latest blow for the agency, which lost its biggest client Cadillac last year, an account it worked on as part of a consortium of agencies called Rogue.

UPDATE: On June 1, Y&R acknowledged its hiring, with global CEO David Sable saying, in a statement, "We are now entrusted with one of our country’s most important government assignments. This is a chance to not only do good work, but also to do good in the world."

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