Levi Makes Its Calls Selectively

Levi Strauss & Co. talked to a select group of agencies last week as it began seeking potential contenders for its $90 million U.S. ad account.
Among the agencies contacted thus far: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Hal Riney & Partners, both in San Francisco, and BBDO in Los Angeles and New York. Many other agencies are contacting the client, but only a few have been invited to submit credentials, including Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York, sources said.
Incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding and Levi’s international agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, have also been asked to pitch, sources said.
Ammirati Puris Lintas is known to have received a call but declined to participate due to recent new business wins and its current workload.
The status of TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif., and Cliff Freeman and Partners and Ogilvy & Mather, both New York, could not be determined at press time. Marc Goldstein, president, integrated marketing at Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, would not say if the agency was contacted but said the shop would stick with Levi’s rival Lee jeans “until they fire us or we die.”
“We won’t have any kind of short list prepared for a few weeks,” said Brad Williams, a Levi representative. A winner is expected in February.
There is no search consultant. Rather, sources said, a review committee comprised of Levi’s brand USA president Tom Fanoe; Gordon Shank, president of Levi Strauss Americas; Steve Goldstein, vice president of marketing and research, Levi’s brand USA; and Robert Haas, Levi chairman and CEO, has been established. Goldstein is the executive contacting agencies, sources said. –with staff reports