Progress Software Initiates Review

Progress Software has begun a review to consolidate its advertising account.
Both creative development and media placement are up for grabs. Billings on the account are in the $3-5 million range, according to client representative Margot Carlson Delogne. Boston-based management consulting firm Pile and Co. has been hired to assist with the search process.
The Bedford, Mass.-based client’s account is currently split “between 5 and 10” agencies worldwide on both a retainer and project basis, Delogne said.
Among those currently working for the client is Cohn Godley Norwood in Boston, which handles a $2.5 million assignment for the company’s Apptivity division in Newark, Calif. Delogne said no decision has been made about including the shop in the review.
Cohn Godley president Bed Godley said his agency will likely not participate in the review and believes the opportunity exists to continue working for the client.
Progress Software is looking to have an agency on board by the beginning of October, said Delogne, who declined to discuss selection criteria. Pile and Co. is in the early stages of contacting prospective contenders.
Midsized agencies with $50-100 million in overall billings and at least some high-technology experience are being considered, sources said. Shops in the Northeast are strongly preferred but geography is not the first consideration, sources said.
Delogne described Progress Software’s business as increasingly “global” in nature and said the winning agency will be expected to help the company compete overseas, where some 60 percent of its sales are derived. The work will consist mainly of print-based advertising and interactive executions, she said.
Prior to Cohn Godley, Progress Software worked with Pagano Schenck & Kay, Boston, which fashioned the tagline, “Powered by Progress.” The agency sought to create a brand identity for the company’s software development products modeled after the widely successful Intel “Inside” ads.
Financial concerns may be one factor driving Progress Software’s decision to conduct a review. The publicly traded company lost $1.6 million in 1997, compared with a profit of $5.5 million in 1996. Revenues rose slightly to $188 million from $177 million in the same period, according to the company’s financial statements. –with Sarah Jone