Martin, Richards Compete for Sub-Zero Freezer

High-end appliance maker Sub-Zero Freezer Co. has narrowed its review to five finalists, sources said.

Competing for the Madison, Wis., firm’s $8-10 million account are incumbent Kerker Marketing Communications, along with Carmichael Lynch and Martin/Wil-liams, both in Minneapolis, The Richards Group of Dallas and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., sources said.

Officials at the agencies either declined comment or referred calls to the client.

Paul Leuthe, Sub-Zero’s corporate marketing manager who is supervising the review, also declined comment.

The client plans to make agency visits and assign a creative project within the next month. A decision is expected by the end of the year, sources said.

Kerker has held the account since 1996. Earlier this year, the Minneapolis agency broke a print campaign that depicted off-beat characters tailoring the contents of the client’s high-end refrigerators to their lives.

One execution shows a woman in a yoga position with cucumber slices on her eyes. Pictured behind her, a Sub-Zero refrigerator is filled with cucumbers. The headline, “It’s your room. Do what you want in it,” is the only text to appear in the ads.

Kerker also handles Sub-Zero’s Wolf Gourmet brand of residential ranges and cooktops. It is still unclear whether the review encompasses that business as well.

Sub-Zero spent $2 million on advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Sources have indicated, however, that spending could increase to the $8-10 million range.

Sub-Zero is known for its custom-built refrigerators and freezers, which are integrated into surrounding kitchen cabinetry. The privately held company, foundedin 1945, had estimated sales of$150 million in 1998.