USTA Splits Business Between 2 Shops

Brand lead goes to DDB, U.S. Open to mcgarrybowen

The United States Tennis Association has decided that two agencies are better than one.

After a review, the USTA has hired DDB, New York, to handle brand image advertising and mcgarrybowen, Chicago, to create ads around tournaments like the U.S. Open. DDB's first work is expected to break in the second quarter of 2013.

Previously, the association used a single shop, The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., for the bulk of its advertising efforts. Martin, whose relationship with the assocation dated back to 2009, declined to participate in the review.

The USTA, which is based in White Plains, N.Y., is not a big spender in terms of media. In the past, annual spending hovered around $10 million. The association and its marquee event, the U.S. Open, however, represent a major platform for creativity.

Before Martin, agencies like Fallon worked for the USTA. A Fallon campaign in 1999 took a theater of the absurb approach, comically showing how other sports like figure skating aren't as exciting as tennis, particularly when they're played on tennis courts.