OfficeMax Hears From 2 Shops

Doner, Riney Vie to Succeed CEA on Retailer’s $60 Mil. Account
CHICAGO–OfficeMax is talking to at least two agencies about its $60 million account, which has been at Campbell-Ewald Advertising for five years, sources said.
Doner in Southfield, Mich., and Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago, are making presentations to the Shaker Heights, Ohio-based company this week, sources said.
CEA is not participating in the review, although the shop apparently has not been officially terminated, sources said.
Executives at the agencies declined comment.
Doner in December was handed the retailer’s estimated $15 million account–a sign that CEA’s hold on the business may have weakened.
Leading the review is Gene O’Donnell, who last year was named executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. O’Donnell joined the company from Chicago-based hardware chain co-op TruServ Corp., and previously worked with Hills Department Stores.
O’Donnell could not be reached for comment. A company representative could not confirm the review.
CEA took over what was then the $30-40 million OfficeMax ad account in January 1995, shortly after the chain was spun off by Kmart Corp. In its first year on the account, the agency introduced the themeline “We go to the Max for you” and the company’s animated stick figure icon, “Max,” whose head is a giant “O.”
Last fall, a back-to-school TV spot put Max into animated surroundings for the first time, allowing him to manipulate office supply items rather than just point to and hop over them.
The company’s ad push for, which is operating as a separate unit and may eventually be spun off as its own company, has included interim TV spots from CEA and print, radio and outdoor work from Doner. The outdoor effort includes copy that reads, “Get office supplies without getting off your rear end,” with the “end” key on a computer keyboard incorporated into the line.
OfficeMax operates 910 “superstores” in 49 states, and plans to expand into Mexico. It ranks third in the mega-office-store category, behind Office Depot and Staples.
The company spent $60 million on advertising in 1998, and $45 million through September of last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. –with Tanya Irwin