2 Remain in Dow Pitch

NEW YORK Dow Chemical said it has narrowed its search to two holding company teams—one from Interpublic Group, the other from WPP Group—in a review that would consolidate its advertising and marketing account, now handled by various marketing services companies.

Estimated billings are $25-30 million, per sources.

In a statement, the Midland, Mich., client said, “Several agency teams met with Dow earlier this week. Though the depth of thinking and the caliber of people from all of the agency teams made it a particularly challenging decision, Dow has narrowed its choices to two teams: Interpublic and WPP. Discussions will continue during the next several weeks.”

Teams from Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe are not going forward, sources said. For Omnicom, Energy BBDO in Chicago was partnering with Porter Novelli and other sibling companies. Publicis in New York, Publicis Dialog and Manning, Selvage & Lee represented Publicis Groupe, sources said. Representatives for those companies declined to comment.

Sources said the client wants a new global corporate image assignment and that public relations agencies are driving the effort. For IPG, the team includes Foote Cone & Belding in Chicago and Golin/Harris. WPP has Young & Rubicam, Mediaedge:cia, pollster Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, Landor Associates and Burson Marsteller (a roster shop) going forward.

Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in Detroit is also on the roster, but not participating in the process.

Between 2000 and 2004, Dow spent less than $1 million annually in major measured media on corporate image ads in the U.S., according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Last year that figure jumped to more than $10 million, modest for a company of its size.

Dow, under CEO and chairman-elect Andrew Liveris, is said to be looking to reposition its brand, which in recent years has used the slogan, “Living. Improved daily.” And Dow executives think they can accomplish the task more efficiently if their business is consolidated at a single holding company, according to the request for proposal.

“We are seeking to increase our penetration and leverage through consolidation of agency resources into a comprehensive and integrated program,” the RFP states, without listing billings.