2 Contenders Join the Quest for Kmart

NEW YORK Two more agencies have emerged in Kmart’s search for creative ideas on its $270 million account, sources said.

Grey Global Group’s Grey Worldwide and Havas’ Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, both in New York, are on the list to travel to Aspen, Colo., this week to present to executives of the Troy, Mich., client, sources said.

The other shops include independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., and WPP Group’s J. Walter Thompson in New York, sources said. It could not immediately be determined if media duties are part of the presentations. Omnicom’s OMD handles media planning and buying. Its sibling, TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, resigned the Kmart account last week after settling a lawsuit with the company, sources said [Adweek Online, July 25].

Kmart filed suit against the agency earlier this month in Michigan’s Oakland County Circuit Court alleging that the shop jeopardized Kmart’s ad campaign by refusing to release work. Sources said the shop was not releasing work because the client owed it $2.4 million in costs. TBWA\C\D was able then to get a federal judge to stop a temporary restraining order that would have forced it to release the advertising it had produced, sources said [Adweek, July 28].

The two sides settled out of court, sources said, and a Kmart rep said only that the issues were resolved.

The agency won the account three years ago.

Three weeks ago, Kmart began contacting agencies to solicit ideas on its advertising now that it is coming out of Chapter 11. A week later, some shops agreed to receive a 36-page briefing document in which Kmart outlined how it would like to be positioned and what it needs in terms of advertising.

A combination of factors, including what many considered the short preparation time before presentations were to begin, caused some agencies to decline Kmart’s invitation.

Agencies going forward are making presentations this week, sources said. Executives at the agencies declined comment. The client could not immediately be reached for comment.

This story updates an item posted on July 29.