"2009 was a great year for Match and we're growing aggressively," Smithyman said, adding that the private, Texas-based company hired a new CEO, Greg Blatt, about a year ago. The re-evaluation of agencies was "not just for PR," he added. "It's really what we're doing with all our strategic relationships."
The RFP process began in the fourth quarter of 2009, and included 10 agencies, Smithyman said. The incumbent, MS&L, came on as AOR for both sites in late 2007 and participated in the RFP. Smithyman declined to name the other agencies involved and MS&L had no comment.
Fleishman plans to have a core team of seven people on the account, but will pull in other staffers based on their specialties for projects, said Melissa Barnes, SVP and lead of the digital consumer team for Fleishman. The agency will be "generally providing support to both the Match.com and Chemistry.com brands," she added.
Both Match.com and Chemistry.com launched new advertising campaigns at the end of 2009 and Fleishman will work to "build some PR on that," Smithyman said. "It's all part of the total integration campaign. We'll look at that as a platform to tell our story and that's where Fleishman-Hillard is going to help us."
"We focused on online, offline, social media, providing strategic counsel, but also tactical execution," Barnes said. "We really focused on ideas that we felt would move the business. Match has gotten great coverage in the past, but we want people to subscribe."