Century 21 Shifts to Mcgarrybowen

NEW YORK Century 21 has shifted national creative duties on its account from Interpublic Group’s Lowe to mcgarrybowen, an independent, the client has confirmed. Estimated spending exceeds $30 million.

“Changing consumer needs and expectations coupled with increased competition in a very dynamic marketplace prompted us to take a fresh look at our brand and marketing messages,” said John Greenleaf, senior vice president of marketing at Century 21, in a statement.

“As Lowe returns to its creative roots, severing this relationship is probably best for the both of us,” said an agency representative, who declined further comment. Lowe in New York, which was notified of the shift within the past week, had handled the business since 1998.

Mcgarrybowen referred calls to the Parsippany, N.J., client, which could not immediately be reached. Media duties remain at MediaCom in New York, a unit of WPP Group’s Grey Global Group.

Lowe’s most recent work positioned the realtor as the source for in-depth information that homebuyers need. One TV spot depicted a pregnant mother stopping a school bus to ask children questions about the student-teacher ratio, discretionary spending per student and matriculation percentage at their elementary school. As the bus finally pulls away, a girl shakes her head and mumbles, “This lady’s crazy.” A male voiceover explains, “There’s a better way to get information to help you chose the right home.”

In the first half of 2005, Century 21 spent nearly $30 million in major measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Mcgarrybowen in New York has billings of nearly $600 million from clients such as Chase, Reebok, Marriott International, InBev (Brahma beer) and Verizon Communications. The shop also is a finalist in Pfizer’s $60-80 million Lipitor review, along with Publicis Groupe’s The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York and WPP Group’s JWT in New York [Adweek Online, Sept. 22].