BB&B Looks Beyond for Agency

Retailer Ups Budget to $50 Mil. to Compete with Pier 1, Others
NEW YORK–Bed Bath & Beyond has kicked off a review for its account, which is being billed as worth $50 million, sources said.
Both creative and media duties are in play, and its nine-year incumbent, Berenter Greenhouse & Webster, has been invited to defend, according to sources. Hilda Bamsey, an account executive at Berenter, confirmed the review but declined to say whether or not the shop would pitch. Rita Little, director of advertising and marketing at BB&B’s buying office in Farmingdale, N.Y., also declined comment.
The consultancy Richard Roth & Associates in Chappaqua, N.Y., is managing the search. Roth did not return calls, but sources said he was contacting shops on behalf of the client.
In the past, BB&B’s advertising has consisted of print and radio ads as well as catalogs.
One recent ad that ran in People featured smiling men and women holding holiday gifts. The headline: “Bed Bath & Beyond. Gifts for everyone.”
The $50 million budget represents a huge increase in what the home-accessories retailer has spent on advertising. But with a new Web site and plans to double the number of stores in the next three years to 480, per Hoover’s Online, BB&B appears to be upping the ante to compete with rivals such as Linens ‘n Things and Pier 1, which recently selected Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., for its $60 million account.
In 1998, BB&B spent $4 million on media, per Competitive Media Reporting. Through the first nine months of 1999, the figure was less than $2 million.
BB&B, based in Union, N.J., is run by co-CEOs Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein. It operates about 240 sites in 38 states. About 40 percent of those stores are in New York, Florida, Texas and California.
BB&B stocks about 30,000 items–from bed linens to cookware. In November, it launched, a site with a bridal and gift registry.
–with Emily Fromm