Sebago Seeks Shop for Print Ads; Incumbent Holt, Hughes Bows Out

Casual footwear maker Sebago in Gorham, Maine, is seeking a new agency for its print-based advertising account.
Marketing consultant Dave Murphy of F.O.I. Associates in Scituate, Mass., has been retained to oversee the search process and has helped company officials select a field of three to five contenders, sources said. Murphy did not return calls by press time.
Billings are in the $1-3 million range and include creative development as well as media buying chores, sources said.
Some collateral, direct marketing and online assignments may also be in the mix, sources said.
The incumbent, Holt, Hughes & Stamell in Portland, Maine, which has handled the account for the past six years, initially defended the business but last week said it has withdrawn from the review process.
Agency official George Hughes said his shop pulled out because the client is seeking “a more traditional agency relationship with heavier emphasis on advertising versus marketing strategy.”
The shop has recently attempted to reinvent itself as a marketing consulting company. Partner John Holt and Sebago creative team Chris Kast and Mark Nestor left the agency in recent months, citing the new direction as the source of their dissatisfaction [Adweek, Aug. 25].
Sebago had grown somewhat dissatisfied with that direction as well, in part promoting the review, sources said.
Nestor said his Portland, Maine-based startup, Crank, a creative boutique formed with Kast this summer, is not involved in the pitch.
Sebago official Christie Ogier declined to disclose the names of the shops or say why the review was called.
Contenders will make presentations to Sebago officials at company headquarters later this month; a decision is expected in early November, she said.
Consultant Murphy, a former footwear company executive, this spring ran the regional Papa Gino’s review. That account was won by Clarke Goward in Boston.