Jergens May Split Its Search in Two

Separate pitches for flagship line, Frieda could free up shops

Only a handful of New York shops with at least $250 million in billings are completely unconflicted and fit the current guidelines for Andrew Jergens Co.’s $95 million creative and media review.

So, to give itself options, sources said the Cincinnati client may allow agencies to pitch the estimated $75 million Jergens skin-care and personal-care business separately from the $20 million John Frieda hair-care account. Andrew Jergens is owned by Tokyo-based Kao Corp.

The move “would free up a lot of agencies to participate,” a source said. Unconflicted shops that meet the billings criterion include WPP’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell; Havas’ Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners and Arnold’s New York office; Omnicom’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners; Maxxcom’s Margeotes Fertitta + Partners; and independents Cliff Freeman and Partners and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Interpublic Group’s Avrett Free & Ginsberg and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and the New York office of Canadian independent Wolf Group are unconflicted, but claim less than $250 million in billings.

IPG’s Lowe absorbed the business in its February merger with Bozell, but Jergens perceived a conflict with Lowe’s Johnson & Johnson baby-care business and retained AAR Partners in New York to conduct a search. Sources said Jergens and Frieda products in development could become direct conflicts with Lowe’s J&J business down the road.

Questionnaires go out this week. A decision is expected by the end of July, sources said. The client and AAR Partners declined comment.