WSW and FCB team up for $20m IRS job

WASHINGTON: Last week, the IRS awarded one of the most sought-after government communications contracts in recent memory to the Interpublic Group team of Weber Shandwick Worldwide and ad firm Foote Cone & Belding (FCB). The duo will comanage a potential $20 million-a-year campaign for up to five years.

WASHINGTON: Last week, the IRS awarded one of the most sought-after government communications contracts in recent memory to the Interpublic Group team of Weber Shandwick Worldwide and ad firm Foote Cone & Belding (FCB). The duo will comanage a potential $20 million-a-year campaign for up to five years.

The agencies will conduct an integrated communications and marketing program urging taxpayers to file their taxes electronically, while also informing them that the IRS has become more streamlined and user-friendly.

The account will be managed jointly by FCB and WSW's Minneapolis office, which boasts considerable experience in the area of electronic payments, including work with the Minnesota Tax Department and the Direct Deposit and Direct Payment Coalition. EVP Barb Young Iverson, formerly of the Minneapolis Department of Revenues, will lead the agency's 10-person team.

"Part of our pitch was on how we know the intersection of money, technology, and consumers better than anyone in the world,

explained Iverson. "We know how consumers think and behave regarding their money, and I think that that made a very compelling case for the IRS."

The Interpublic team was one of four finalists vying for the business.

The others were BBDO Atlanta and teams from Grey Advertising and Y&R Advertising.

Other Interpublic teams taking part in the campaign include marketing firms FCBi and Analytici, as well as Hispanic agency Montemayor Y Associatos. FCB is allocated the lion's share of the budget, estimated by Iverson to be $19 million of the possible $20 million per year.

"People working on this account are passionate about making the federal government more efficient,

said Iverson. "All you need to do is see the lines at the post office on April 15 to convince you that people should be filing electronically."

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