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Army awards $1.35 billion ad contract

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A New York advertising firm has won a $1.35 billion, five-year contract to handle the U.S. Army's advertising and publicity to recruit and retain soldiers.

McCann Erickson won the contract Thursday, beating out incumbent Leo Burnett USA that originated the "Army of One" campaign.

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McCann Erickson will produce not only print, television and radio ads but also the goarmy.com Web site, direct marketing, promotions and special events.

McCann Erickson has its work cut out for it: Bboth the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard missed their 2005 recruiting goals by nearly 20 percent each --a total of about 20,000 soldiers short. The active duty Army missed its goal by 8 percent, about 6,000 soldiers.

The first reporting period for fiscal year 2006 show signs of improvement, however. The Army National Guard exceeded its recruiting goal in October for the first time since May. The Army also exceeded its goal of 4,700 new recruits by 225 soldiers.

The McCann Erickson contract is for two years with three one-year options. The Army has been evaluating proposals for a new advertiser since at least May 2004.

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