PwC Taps Lowe

NEW YORK PricewaterhouseCoopers has awarded global creative duties on its ad account to Lowe, the Interpublic Group agency confirmed today.

The New York shop bested the crosstown office of Omnicom’s DDB in the final round of a review, sources said. Estimated billings are about $20 million, per sources.

The finalists emerged from a field of four or five agencies that presented to PwC executives last month, including IPG’s Draftfcb in New York, according to sources.

Lowe N.Y. chairman Mark Wnek confirmed the assignment, but referred further questions to the New York-based client, which had no immediate comment.

PwC previously used creative agencies on a project basis. IPG’s Initiative handles domestic media duties. Beyond Initiative, PwC already had a relationship with IPG, serving as the holding company’s outside auditor since its inception.

That relationship reaped huge rewards for PwC in the wake of IPG’s unearthing a $181.3 million account balance in 2002.

The imbalance, attributed chiefly to an overbooking of revenue among offices of McCann Erickson in Europe, triggered a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and years of revamping IPG’s accounting practices.

The revamp drove up outside auditing costs, from, for example, $39 million in 2003 to $92.6 million in 2004.