Ace Hardware names OKRP as its new agency

OKRP partners: Nick Paul, Tom O’Keefe, Matt Reinhard

Oakbrook-based retailer Ace Hardware moved its advertising business closer to home by naming Chicago’s O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul its lead creative agency.

For the past seven years, Ace’s account had been handed by GSD&M of Austin, Texas, which declined to participate in the agency review.  

OKRP won the account over other Chicago agency contenders FCB Chicago, The Escape Pod and Schafer Condon Carter.

The hardware company spent $63 million on measured media in 2014, according to Kantar Media, and media buying and planning will remain with Publics’ Spark. 

Jeff Gooding, Ace Hardware’s senior director/consumer marketing said of its choice, “We met with many quality agencies during our review and OKRP set themselves apart in a variety of ways. Their insights and straightforward, no nonsense creative fits well with who we are as a brand and how we communicate to our target audience.”

The 91-year old company, founded in Chicago, has around 5,000 locations and does over $13 billion in annual retail hardware sales.

Ace Hardware becomes the twelfth client on OKRP’s roster since the agency opened in March, 2013. Clients include Big Lots, the national discount chain OKRP won 18 months ago, business estimated at $50 million; WingStreet, Pizza Hut’s chicken wing brand; Banh Shop restaurant concept of KFC and Taco Bell, and that old Chicago iconic brand, Turtle Wax, among others.

Backed by Interpublic Group of Cos, a 30% investor, the three partners are veterans of DraftFCB/FCB: Tom O’Keefe had been its US creative chief; Matt Reinhard, executive creative director and Nick Paul, FCB’s global officer.

Their office at 208 S. Jefferson includes in-house production shop Whiskey & Bananas Studios.