NEW YORK: FAO Schwarz tapped Bragman Nyman Cafarelli (BNC) as its AOR, after a competitive review.
Starting work in mid-May, BNC will oversee brand expansion for FAO Schwarz through celebrity PR and corporate communications, according Susan Hook, VP of PR for FAO Schwarz. It will also work to assist, “[FAO Schwarz] repositioning its brand beyond [the perception of] being a rich man's toy store, and as a purveyor of quality toys, the same way Whole Foods is to grocery stores,” she added.
The agency's first initiative was to promote the toy retailer's expansion into multiple markets through its new partnership with Macy's. The partnership will put Schwarz in 275 Macy's stores by early autumn, and a total of about 685 Macy's during the next two years.
Joseph Assad, SVP and general manager of BNC's New York, said the agency pitched strategies concerning the launch of the new partnership with Macy's as part of the review, as well as other event-oriented promotions targeting consumers.
According to Hook, the search began in early March, coinciding with internal changes happening within the PR department, specifically the hiring of Candice Lail as director of PR, as well as Hook.
“After my predecessor moved on, our CEO [Edward Schmults] looked at building up internal resources by expanding department, and as a natural resource we investigated external resources as well,” Hook said.
She declined to name the other agencies that pitched for the account.
FAO Schwarz had no current outgoing AOR, but agencies, such as DKC and Rubenstein PR, had served as AOR in the past, Hook said. A DKC representative affirmed the relationship, and said the agency was not involved in the pitch.
Richard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein PR, said his agency did not pitch but that, “I assumed they would review and identify a new firm,” due to the personnel changes at Schwarz.