- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2003

White & Baldacci is on the right track. Despite losing Amtrak’s $27 million advertising account last month, the Herndon agency has been positioning itself for the past six months to grow aggressively and remain a top contender in the industry.

“Clearly losing an account as big as Amtrak is a setback for us,” said Matt White, chief executive and chairman of the $75 million agency. “But we’re prepared.”

In December, the agency, formerly E. James White Communications, joined with Stephen Baldacci, former president of business operations and chief marketing officer for the Washington Redskins, and changed the agency’s name to reflect the new partnership.

Since then, White & Baldacci has added a separate public relations unit called W&B; PR and its newest division called SharePoint, a management-consulting practice that specializes in sports and entertainment.

“By bringing on Steve, we’re diversifying our offerings,” Mr. White said.

Agency officials have been meeting with potential clients and participating in advertising-account reviews. They are confident new business will overlap into all three areas of the White & Baldacci umbrella.

Although the Amtrak account has been awarded to Arnold Worldwide in McLean, White & Baldacci will continue to work on promotions and other projects for the national rail carrier. The agency has worked with Amtrak for decades and became agency of record in 2001.

After losing the account, White & Baldacci laid off 10 employees and now has about 50 workers.

White & Baldacci’s current clients include Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority, Software AG Inc., Ledo Pizza and Westfields Marriott.

In other news …

• Under Armour finished shooting a commercial last week designed to continue the company’s TV branding effort, which began last year with its first TV spot.

The Baltimore performance-apparel company, which makes a line of sports clothing that pulls the sweat away from athletes’ skin to keep them cool and dry, raked in $55 million in sales in 2002 and is on track to reach about $120 million in sales this year, said Kevin Plank, Under Armour’s founder and president. The newest TV campaign, which will begin airing in mid-August, will cost about $5 million, he said.

• A $2 million advertising campaign promoting the third annual “BET Awards” paid off for Black Entertainment Television, based in the District. About 5.5 million people tuned in to the June 24 awards show — a 25 percent jump in viewership from last year.

• Momentum Marketing was hired by Allied Domecq Quick Service Restaurants, the franchiser of Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo’s, to develop grass-roots marketing campaigns in Chicago and California this summer. The Alexandria agency will handle store promotions, employee incentive programs, sponsored events, games for customers and other marketing.

• Strategic Communications Group Inc. in Silver Spring was named public relations agency of record for Americom Government Services Inc., which provides satellite services for government agencies and federal contractors. Strategic will develop a communications program to raise awareness of the company’s global satellite services.

• Demaree Public Relations Inc. in Germantown has been selected by Merkle Direct Marketing Inc. to manage a nationwide public relations campaign. Merkle, based in Lanham, provides database-marketing services.

Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing appears every other Monday.

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