Microsoft Eyes 3 for Global B2B

Three agencies are preparing for final presentations in Microsoft’s review of global creative duties on its business-to-business account, sources said.

Sources identified the shops as Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, the Deutsch unit of Interpublic Group’s Lowe in New York and the incumbent, WPP Group’s JWT. Microsoft represents the first time that Deutsch and Lowe have partnered on a pitch since the shops merged last fall.

Fellow Publicis Groupe shop Fallon in Minneapolis may be contributing to Saatchi’s pitch, said a source.

Sources estimate account revenue at $10 million.

Client executives briefed the contenders last week and presentations are scheduled for this week at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., said sources. The agencies either declined to comment or could not be reached. Microsoft had no comment.

JWT has handled the business since 2008. Its first campaign, released in early 2009, married the voices of business leaders to still animation and introduced the theme, “Because it’s everybody’s business.” Subsequently, JWT used blogs and a Web program hosted by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch and his wife, Suzy, to disseminate business advice in an attempt to position Microsoft as a thought-leader.

The account put JWT on Microsoft’s roster of creative agencies. Since then, the agency has added creative duties on Bing and Office. Other Microsoft roster shops include MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder, Colo. (Windows, Zune) and Interpublic’s agencytwofifteen in San Francisco (Xbox).