Editor's note: This article was originally published at 12:06 p.m. EDT on April 29 and has been updated.
On May 20, the Navy's hunt for its next recruiting slogan will start in earnest.
That's when the new advertising contract, initially worth $84.4 million, takes effect under a new ad firm brought in to change direction after the service's unpopular "A global force for good" campaign. That effort was stalled by a year due to three appeals by the ad agency that had held the lucrative contract for 15 years. Almost exactly a year after it was officially awarded — and three appeals to have the award overturned, the Navy’s new recruiting marketing and advertising contract will go into effect on May 20. New York-based firm Young & Rubicam Inc. won the Navy Recruiting Command contract, is initially being awarded as a $84.4 million — one-year fixed-price.
The Navy dumped "A global force for good" — a slogan disliked by large swathes of the public and the Navy — in 2014 in favor of the branding "America's Navy," and developing a new slogan has been in limbo due to the contract dispute. During that time, Navy Times launched an unofficial slogan contest where readers submitted slogans and then voted on them.
New York-based ad agency Young & Rubicam won the Navy Recruiting Command contract, which includes Also includes the Navy to award four, one-year, optional extensions that could boost could still the total value of the award to $457.4 million by the contract's 2021 expiration date.
"We are happy to welcome the Y&R team to the region and to formally begin the Navy partnership," said Rear Adm. Jeffrey W. Hughes, head of Navy Recruiting Command. "We are excited about the new direction we will take and to have some of the best people and resources to help us recruit the very finest men and women from across the country into the U.S. Navy."
Sources say that The turnover between the two contractors began this month and andYoung & Rubicam will officially assume the watch on May 20th.
But getting the nod to head in this new direction took the Navy and eventually the Department of Justice, who handled the court appeals for the service longer than expected.
That’s because The Navy’s incumbent agency, Lowe Campbell Ewald, held the contract for an extra year and earned another $84 million. LCE's initial campaign was, "Navy: Accelerate Your Life," which served as the service's recruiting slogan from 2001 to 2009. That was replaced by "America's Navy — A global force for good," a slogan that was never popular with those serving in the Navy.
, which had held the contract for over 15 years, managed to hold on to it's work — and the money it brought in for one extra year. As it appealed two separate decisions by the Navy and a Federal Judge upholding the contract.
The contract originally came up for bid with a deadline for submissions in May, 2014, but it took nearly a year for the contract to be vetted and awarded by the Navy's Feet Logistics Center contracting office in Norfolk.
During that time Campbell Ewald was paid $84 million on what was called a month to month "bridge contract" that could be terminated once the contract was awarded.
During that time, Lowe Campbell Ewald netted another That arrangement continued during the dispute, officials confirmed, netting them nearly another $84 million total as they disputed the awarding of the contract to Young & Rubicam. On April 15, multiple sources familiar with the court case say LCE dropped their appeal as it appeared to head into tell Navy Times that LCE suddenly dropped their case just as it appeared the case, would head into final arbitration, with the federal court of claims judge appearing to side with upholding the government's case.
According to those Navy sources, a Federal Court of Claims judge was slated to hear oral arguments May 17 from both sides and could have issues a ruling on the spot. Those monitoring the case in the Navy said that it appeared the judge would have upheld the government's two previous decisions and given the contract to Young & Rubicam.
Phone calls to LCE's spokespeople seeking their reasons for dropping the appeal were not returned by Friday. Campbell Ewald's media relations department asking for their reasons for dropping the case were unanswered as of April 29.
When Asked why LCE dropped the appeal, Navy Times received an anonymous statement and a phone call "attributable to a spokeswoman for the agency." No reason was given for the anonymous reply.
"We decided to withdraw our challenge," the statement said. "It was initially our understanding that a decision at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims would be reached promptly. Due to continued delays outside of our control, that has not proven to be the case.
"Therefore, we are asking for a voluntary dismissal so all parties can move forward. We are incredibly proud of all the work we've done for the U.S. Navy brand, and most importantly, for consistently meeting Navy's quantifiable recruiting goals."
The active-duty Navy hasn’t failed to make its annual recruiting goals since 1998. Navy Reserve Recruiting, however, missed its annual goals in 2005 and 2006 and during 2007 had a run of five consecutive months failing to meet recruiting goals. Recruiting and retention are strong Christensen said but officials are wary of what's is around the economic corner.
But the Navy's recruiting command and the chief of naval personnel are both anxious for the new contract to take effect.
"We look forward to partnering with Young & Rubicam, and combining our resources, talent and passion to attract, inspire and hire America's most talented youth into the United States Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen spokesman for the chief of naval personnel.
Historically As the economy improves, officials say, both recruiting and retention efforts see drops and the Navy is trying to stay ahead of that curve.
"While the Navy is in a very good position today with recruiting, retention and fit/fill, we are at a strategic cross-road where we need think about how we will recruit and retain the force of tomorrow," Christensen said.
The appeals, the service said, did not hinder day-to-day recruiting advertising work.
While the appeals dragged on, the service was stalled from developing new, long-term advertising messages. That will be the focus now as officials look to searching for new slogans and branding. What was impacted was the ability for the Navy’s personnel officials from to develop new, long-term strategies as the service tries to boost its appeal to potential recruits who will have many more other options during a recovering economy.
The Navy dumped its unpopular tagline, "A Global force for good," in advertisements in late 2014 in favor of the more general branding, "America's Navy."
Heading into calendar year, officials said they were looking to develop a few recruiting slogans for different audiences and were planning to begin the search for new branding campaigns a year ago.
There are no shortage of suggestions among the Navy community. In 2015, Navy Times solicited reader ideas on taglines to go with "America's Navy." Navy spouse Stephanie Seevers was one of the people who submitted the most popular new slogan: Navy Times held it’s own contest to tease from sailors their ideas. As readers offered up their best slogan ideas one theme seemed to be the most popular — "America's Navy: We've got the watch"