Guitar Center is playing a new tune. The music equipment retailer has named Publicis Groupe's media agency Starcom USA to oversee its U.S. planning, buying, analytics, and "human experience" strategy business. The assignment will be run out of Starcom's Los Angeles office.
Eddie Combs, SVP of Marketing at Guitar Center, cited Starcom’s blend of classic media approaches and grasp of analytics as key factors in landing this account.
Others participating in the review included incumbent Horizon Media, as well as UM, the IPG Mediabrands shop and Los Angeles-based independent Palisades Media, according to sources.
“We are thrilled to begin our partnership with Guitar Center,” said Starcom USA CEO Lisa Donohue. “Coupling our team’s passion for designing meaningful consumer experiences with our rigorous data-led approach, we look forward to evolving the Guitar Center brand into the future."
The company spent nearly $22 million on ads in the past year, according to Kantar.
The agency shift originally began in September 2013 after its agency KSL Media filed for bankruptcy. Horizon Media assumed duties with the understanding that the company would launch a formal review in the coming months.
Starcom will now handle Guitar Center's s "All we sell is the Greatest Feeling on Earth" campaign. Last week, Guitar Center announced DJ and producer Steve Aoki as the latest artist ambassador, following appearances by Questlove (The Roots) and James Hetfield (Metallica). Aoki’s spot will debut nationwide on August 18, 2014.
The campaign – which runs across print, broadcast, digital and online – was created by Guitar Center with each artist sharing their personal experience about the joy that music brings to their lives. Guitar Center is continuing to roll out new commercial spots and additional artist ambassadors on a quarterly basis.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Guitar Center, which continues to evolve its Vision 2020 initiative, whose broad goal is to grow revenue to $3 billion by 2020.
Based in Westlake Village, CA, Guitar Center has over 260 retail stores across the U.S.