U.S. Army Searches New Agency, Defines Hispanic Market as Key Target

The U.S. Army issued a request for proposals for its marketing services account and defines the Hispanic Market as a key target. Interpublic Group's McCann Erickson in New York has been the U.S. Army’s lead agency since December 2005.

The Hispanic Market will be a key target and it’s a request to the agencies pitching for the job to elaborate a specific strategy to Hispanics. The creative agency for the Hispanic market agency is currently Interpublic’s Casanova Pendrill.

The RFP includes traditional advertising, digital and direct marketing, media planning and buying, public relations, promotions, and event and multi-cultural marketing, according to Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI), Acquisition Business Web Site.

The document calculates a “hypothetical recruiting marketing communications budget of $150-$160mm next fiscal year.”  It added, however, "spending on recruiting communications will continue to be under pressure and potentially shrink as the federal government looks to tackle the deficit." This budget should be used for all duties and should include “production, research and agency fees for strategic and tactical planning, advertising (general market, Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American), direct marketing, digital/web/social media, public relations, promotions and event marketing, and field marketing.”

The U.S. Army intents to keep its tag line “Army Strong” and campaign strategy with the new agency.

McCann will defend its business, an agency representative said. The shop's contract, originally set to expire in December, may have to be extended. The next contract will begin in April and run through April 2012, with four annual options for renewal, the document states.

The Army's major media spending has declined since 2006 -- McCann's first full year on the business. That year the Army spent more than $167 million in media, excluding online spending, according to Nielsen. The total spend dipped to nearly $148 million in 2007, about $129 million in 2008 and nearly $95 million in 2009, per Nielsen. In the first half of 2010, spending was just $18 million.

The RFP is due back on Sept. 24. General-market agencies that indicated interest in the account online during a pre-solicitation period included WPP Group's Young & Rubicam and IPG's Draftfcb, both in New York. Sources also expect the New York office of WPP's Grey to pursue the business. 

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