Essilor Eyes Atlanta, Texas Shops

Begins Review for $15 Mil. Consumer Portion of Varilux Account
By Jim Osterman
ATLANTA-Officials with Essilor of America have placed the $15 million consumer portion of their Varilux lenses advertising account into review and are considering shops in Atlanta, Texas and New York. Thirteen agencies have been asked to submit credentials in the first round.
The account, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., has been with The St. George Group in Pittsburgh, sources said. The incumbent did not return calls.
The shops being considered for the business include Adair Greene Advertising, Austin Kelley Advertising, BBDO South, Fitzgerald & Company, J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and WestWayne in Atlanta; DDB Dallas, Publicis and The Richards Group in Dallas; Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas; and Jordan, McGrath, Case & Partners and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, both in New York.
The review is being conducted by The Kane Consulting Group, Atlanta. Company principal Bob Kane confirmed his role in the review, but referred all questions concerning the pitch to the client.
Shops had until Thursday of last week to return the request for proposal. The client will evaluate responses, then cut down to a smaller list. There will likely be one more cut before final presentations. The process is scheduled to conclude by the end of summer.
One of the agencies on the initial list of contenders-Adair Greene-already has an existing relationship with the client. According to Rich Levy, president of that shop’s healthcare division, Adair Greene is Essilor’s professional agency for Varilux. The lens product is targeted at doctors and other professionals in the optical field.
Last Thursday, Levy said he was not sure if his shop would compete for another portion of the business. The client recently awarded Adair Greene a new product assignment. He would not disclose specifics of that work.
Varilux progressive addition lenses are designed for people with presbyopia. The product’s Instant Focus System allows the wearer to see near, far and everywhere in between without distracting lines.
The client could not be reached for comment.