Amtrak Eyes 4

ATLANTA Amtrak this week holds talks with four agencies competing for its $27 million account, according to sources.

The contenders are Havas’ Arnold in McLean, Va., Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., and incumbent White & Baldacci, an independent agency in Herndon, Va., and one undisclosed shop, sources said.

Both creative and media duties handled by the incumbent are in play.

The Reston, Va., client is managing the review in-house from its procurement office in Philadelphia, according to Amtrak representative Karina Van Veen. She declined to discuss the review further.

The agencies either declined comment or could not be reached.

Last week, a review committee visited the four agencies and heard strategic presentations, sources said. Agency financial officers this week are meeting with client officials at Amtrak’s headquarters in Reston, Va., to discuss budgets and compensation, sources said.

Upcoming are creative presentations centered around an assignment that asks agencies to differentiate between the railroad’s various trains and services while unifying the brand, sources said.

It is unclear if the field will be trimmed before a decision is made in June.

Amrtak initially queried agencies located within a day’s car trip from its home base, sending requests for proposals to 16 Northeast and mid-Atlantic agencies, Van Veen told Adweek in mid-April when the review began.

The client is seeking shops able to craft different campaigns for different regional areas, as well as multicultural efforts, sources said.

Amtrak operates more than 22,000 route miles nationwide, running up to 265 trains per day, excluding commuter operations.