New York (April 9, 2003) – Rather than embarking on a national advertising campaign to bolster the profession’s image, the American Institute of CPAs has instead commissioned a series of three print ads for use in individual states, the organization’s president said Tuesday.

“We’ve decided to marshal our resources in a grassroots image approach,” AICPA President Barry Melancon told WebCPA in an exclusive interview. Offering state societies the use of these ads will enable local CPAs to serve as spokespeople for the profession, rather than having the message come from a national level, he said.

“This way the messages of the profession can be delivered by the faces of profession in a real environment,” Melancon said. “I think for the amount of resources we can muster (for an ad campaign), this will pay a much better dividend.”

The ads themselves speak to individuals and small businesspeople about their long-term relationships with trusted CPAs. The tag line on all three ads notes that CPAs “are here for you, whenever you need us. Just as we’ve always been. America counts on CPAs.” The ads were developed by Marsteller Advertising and are provided free to state societies.

In January, the Institute announced that it was re-evaluating its nine-year relationship with advertising agency Hill, Holiday and was searching for other prospects. Melancon said that the organization decided that instead of hiring a new ad agency on retainer, it would use appropriate agencies on a case-by-case basis in the future. The Institute has earmarked about $4 million for its advertising budget for 2003-2004 fiscal year.

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-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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