Army bidders rely on their creative cousins

The statutory five-year review of the US Army's $1.35 billion marketing and advertising program is no doubt keeping many agency networks busy in the so-called "slow" summer season.

The statutory five-year review of the US Army's $1.35 billion marketing and advertising program is no doubt keeping many agency networks busy in the so-called “slow” summer season.

The deadline for submissions is September 24 and the PR element of the contract is understood to be worth in the region of $10-12 million.

The account is a big prize, if a demanding one to service. It is currently held by the McCann Worldgroup consortium, with fellow IPG subsidiary Weber Shandwick handling the PR side of the business.

The problem for PR agencies bidding for work like this is that winning or retaining the account ultimately comes down to the strength of the creative agency and the work it has been producing or that it suggests in the pitch.

For example, Weber Shandwick could be doing the best job in the world on the PR side, but if the Army isn't happy with McCann's creative input the account is not going to stay with the incumbent.

At the time of writing, Fleishman-Hillard, Edelman, Young & Rubicam, Qorvis Communications and MS&LGroup are among the contractors who have officially registered their interest. McCann is apparently intending to follow suit.

Networks are quite at liberty to submit two different consortia from the same agency group. It will be an indicator of Interpublic's confidence in retaining the Army contract through the incumbent McCann if it decides to put another consortium together to pitch against it.

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