McCann-Erickson Wims Army Ad Biz. Good News For IPG

David Kiley

The U.S. Army, facing declining recruitment, opposition to recruiting on high school and college campuses and an unpopular war, awarded its $1 billion plus ad account to McCann-Erickson. The win is a shot in the arm to parent company IPG, which has suffered prolonged financial losses and account departures.

The contract, which includes work to be done for the U.S. Army Reserve, could be worth up to $1.35 billion over five years. It’s a two-year contract that can be renewed for three one-year periods, or up to five years total.

McCann will take over next year for Publicis' Leo Burnett, which created the "Army of One" campaign, which will reportedly be replaced.

The Army fell short of its recruiting goal for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, hitting just 92% of its goal. But the Army says it has met its goals for each of the last five months.

Besides a new ad campaign, McCann and PR agency Weber Shandwick will have to help the Army strategize how it will overcome the mounting opposition to recruiting tactics, such as obtaining high school records of kids for purposes of direct mail and telephone cold-calling. Parents and teachers alike, boosted by negative public opinion about the war, are increasingly opposed to such tactics. And it's likely to be a hot button issue in next year's mid-term elections.

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