Westfield Returns to DDB After Two-Year Hiatus

LOs ANGELEs—After parting ways with DDB’s shop here in 1999 and then bouncing from agency to agency, shopping-mall developer Westfield Corp. plans to return its account to DDB.

The move comes three months after the client installed new leadership in its marketing department. Upon her arrival, director of national marketing Mary Ann Butcher contacted 12 undisclosed agencies based on recommendations from her field staff and conducted a national review for the $5 million account.

She said the move comes after the company, which operates 39 shopping centers in nine states, retained at least three agencies in less than three years. After parting with DDB, the account shifted to Italia/Gal (now operating as G/F/D/M), then moved to Foote, Cone & Belding’s L.A. office, according to Butcher.

Since April 2001, the company has used the Seattle boutique agency Leonard Creative for radio and TV spots, featuring company spokesperson Sarah Ferguson. Butcher plans to incorporate that work as part of a rebranding effort.

Most recently, Butcher was vp of sales and marketing at Intel’s retail technology unit; before that, she spent 17 years at ABC, rising to vp of marketing at the owned stations division.

DDB was selected based on its broad range of experience, Butcher said, including its OMD media buying operation. While acknowledging the company has had a bumpy track record with ad agencies, she is determined to bring stability by returning the account to DDB.

“A number of things didn’t work out [between Westfield and DDB] at the time,” she said. “I don’t think Westfield knew how to manage its advertising agency.”

“We parted amicably with them [two years ago] when we could not agree on fees,” said DDB president Rick Carpenter. “They are taking a new approach to the business.”

In addition to creative advertising duties and media placement, the assignment calls for DDB to provide merchandising support, including signage used inside the malls.