Seven shops received creative and strategic briefs last week for the $100 million Kmart account.
Five-year in-cumbent Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis is defending the business, which went into review a month after new chief executive officer Charles Conaway arrived at the Troy, Mich., company. Conaway previously was president and chief operating officer at CVS Corp., whose agency is Bates Worldwide in New York.
In addition to the incumbent, shops who were contacted to move on after returning proposal requests are J. Walter Thompson, New York and Detroit; FCB Worldwide, Chicago and Detroit; Grey Worldwide and Lowe, Lintas & Partners, both New York; and Temerlin McClain, Dallas.
The seventh shop was believed to be TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, sources said. Agency officials could not be reached for comment.
Presentations are set for the first week in September with a decision by the end of that month.
Temerlin McClain and FCB are both True North Communications shops, as is Kmart's minority agency, Don Coleman Advertising. Temerlin earlier this year lost its J.C. Penney business, while FCB's retail experience includes the recently departed Payless ShoeSource account.
Coleman's African American account with Kmart is not affected by the review, nor is Castor's Hispanic and Meridian's retail and promotions business, the company said.
Late last month Conaway reset the top executive lineup and also announced a search for a chief marketing officer, that will oversee advertising.
That search has not affected the review, as Kmart needs to stay on a fast track to get advertising from a new agency ready for the holiday season, according to sources close to the review. K