CHICAGO American Century Investment has contacted agencies about its $20 million account, which has been handled for almost 10 years by independent RPA in Santa Monica, Calif., a client executive confirmed.
The Kansas City, Mo.-based company used agencyfinder.com to cull a list of more than 20 shops, which were contacted earlier this week. Client executives plan to visit about eight agencies in early February, said Catherine Bernard, vice president of corporate advertising and sponsorships. From that group a smaller number of finalists will be selected to make presentations before a decision by the end of April, Bernard said.
RPA's latest advertising was tagged "Genuine. Results." The incumbent was invited to defend but declined, Bernard said.
"We felt like we needed to explore other options in terms of other agencies and other thinking," Bernard said.
According to the proposal request sent to agencies, American Century is seeking an agency that understands the investment business and the regulatory environment.
American Century, which manages about $100 billion in client assets, also worked with Interpublic Group's Draft in Chicago on direct and interactive media, Bernard said. Those duties will likely be consolidated with the new shop, she said.
After spending almost $40 million on advertising in 2000, American Century cut ad expenditures to about $20 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
—with Adweek staff reports