Accountants Ernst & Young Begin Search For A Shop

Multibillion-dollar accounting firm Ernst & Young is conducting a review for its estimated $15 million U.S. ad account.
The New York company has sent requests for proposals to several shops, sources said. The client is looking for an agency to handle creative and media duties, sources said.
Stephanie Shern, the client’s vice chairman of marketing and planning, is conducting the review. “We are evaluating our ad agency relationships,” said a client representative.
E&Y’s current agencies are New York shops Grace & Rothschild, which develops the creative work, and Grey Advertising, which handles media. G&R has accepted an invitation to pitch the account; Grey said it would return the rfp, which sources said was due back last week.
G&R won the creative portion of the account in a 1996 review, beating finalist Merkley Newman Harty, New York.
Prior to that, Grey had the entire U.S. account since 1989.
G&R’s first campaign for E&Y bowed in February 1997 with the tagline, “There isn’t a business we can’t improve.”
The Big Six accounting firms have been jockeying for market dominance of late: E&Y and KPMG Peat Marwick recently announced plans to merge, but the move was aborted due to costs and regulatory difficulties. It would have created the largest firm in the world. Coopers & Lybrand and Price Waterhouse also have proposed a merger, which is awaiting approval. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International, the other Big Six firm, also briefly considered a merger with E&Y and has lobbied against the C&L-PW merger in Europe. –Hank Kim