BIC Seeks Shop For $50 Mil. Global Account

Societe BIC S.A., which established the worldwide market for disposable shavers and pens, has kicked off a search for a global agency to handle its estimated $50 million worldwide account.
An executive at the Clichy, France-based client confirmed the search, but offered few details.
BIC communications executive Claire Gerard confirmed that BIC’s U.S. ad business is included in the “global review,” but would not comment on ad spending, the number of agencies that have been invited or which shops handle BIC’s ad business globally. “It is still in process,” she concluded. The client is, however, seeking the efficiencies typically achieved by consolidations. Several agencies handle the company’s advertising around the world.
Havas Advertising, Paris, is believed to handle BIC in France. Executives there could not be reached.
Melville, N.Y.-based Greenstone Roberts handles the client’s estimated $8 million U.S. account. An executive at Greenstone said he was unaware of any changes on the business. Greenstone broke a campaign for BIC Corp. in August that focused on a number of the company’s products.
BIC, which operates in more than 150 countries, spends the bulk of its money in markets such as France and the U.S., said sources. The global shops in the review are putting their Paris offices at the forefront of the pitch.
Executives at BIC Corp. in Milford, Conn., a subsidiary of Societe BIC, did not return calls.
Founded in the 1940s, BIC has expanded its marketing from ballpoint pens to cigarette lighters, shavers, mechanical pencils and stationery. The company now sells roughly 14 million pens per day and posted annual sales of over $1 billion in 1997, per company reports.
BIC’s greatest U.S. success came in the 1970s, when it overtook arch rival Gillette Co. in the cigarette lighter category with the famous “Flick your Bic” campaign created by Slater Hanft Martin in New York.