McKinney Contends for Nasdaq

McKinney & Silver is one of seven contenders bidding for Nasdaq’s marketing account.

The Raleigh, N.C., agency joins a list of blue-chip contenders including Arnold in Boston, The Richards Group in Dallas and Grey, J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, all in New York.

McKinney chief executive officer Don Maurer has been overseeing new business duties at the agency since the departure of Hasan Ramusevic last March.

Sources said incumbent Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet-terer/Euro RSCG, which has held the account since 1989, will defend.

The business, estimated at $30 million, covers creative and media buying duties.

The search is being handled by Chappaqua, N.Y-based Richard Roth Associates, which could not be reached for comment. On the client side, the review is being overseen by Denise Benou Stires, who recently succeeded L. Brian Holland, Nasdaq’s former executive vice president of marketing.

With the exception of privately held The Richards Group, all the agencies in the competition belong to holding companies listed on the Nasdaq—WPP Group, Grey Global Group and Havas Advertising.

The 30-year-old stock market’s agency search comes less than four months after the American Stock Exchange awarded its $15-20 million advertising account to DDB in New York.

Messner, which held the advertising duties for the American Stock Exchange after it merged with Nasdaq parent National Association of Securities Dealers in 1998, did not participate in that review.

The incumbent crafted one of the most recognizable campaigns for Nasdaq, which, however, was hovering at near-record lows thanks to last year’s high-tech stocks collapse.

The agency highlighted top technology companies such as MCI Worldcom, Intel and Microsoft, as well as brick-and-mortar winners like Staples and Starbucks. The tagline was: “The stock market for the next 100 years.”

Last summer, the New York shop launched a TV effort to drive traffic to Nasdaq.com.

That campaign featured text-only pitches to viewers as a dial-up modem sounded in the background. One ad flashed white type across the screen that stated, “One Web site is connected to one of the largest financial centers in the world … “Is yours?” The spots alternated two different taglines: “Info everything” and “Everything. About everything.”