3 N.Y. Agencies, 1 Bay State Shop Survive Liberty Mutual Cut

Liberty Mutual last week trimmed the number of agencies remaining in contention for its estimated $27 million ad account to four.
Advancing to the final round are: N.W. Ayer & Partners, Lowe & Partners/SMS and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, all in New York; and Mullen in Wenham, Mass. Eliminated were Ingalls Advertising and Holland Mark Martin Edmund, both in Boston, as well as Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, Gotham and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, all in New York.
An official at the Boston client confirmed the short list and said the review is on track to conclude in April.
Consultant Morgan, Anderson & Co. and Liberty Mutual are looking closely at potential account conflicts: Ingalls Advertising appeared to have an inside track because its vice president of human resources, Rebecca Sullivan, is married to Steve Sullivan, vice president of corporate communications at Liberty Mutual who is heading up the search. Sources said Ingalls was cut because it was unwilling to resign the work its direct response unit, Ingalls Group 121, does for John Hancock Financial Services, a direct competitor of Liberty Mutual.
Previously, Hill, Holliday/Altschiller in New York chose to withdraw from the contest because its Boston parent, Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, is Hancock’s lead agency [Adweek, Feb. 23].
New York-based Morgan, Anderson was retained by Liberty Mutual in January to conduct the review after the client fired 11-year incumbent Wells BDDP in New York.