NEW YORK The Home Depot has selected at least six shops to visit in its review of creative duties on its ad account, sources said.
Sources identified the agencies as Interpublic Group units McCann Erickson in New York and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, WPP Group units JWT and Grey, both in New York, Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, and the incumbent, The Richards Group, an independent shop in Dallas.
The list was culled from a pack of some 20 shops that answered a request for proposal that Home Depot issued last month. The RFP indicated that based on submissions, the client would select six or seven shops to visit the week of Sept. 29. So, it's possible that another unidentified agency has advanced as well.
Based on the visits, client executives will select three or four finalists, according to the RFP. A final selection is expected in November.
The agencies declined to comment, as did Home Depot. The consultancy managing the process, Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., did not return calls.
The Atlanta-based retailer, which last year spent nearly $580 million in major measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, is looking to reposition itself in an increasingly competitive marketplace that includes the likes of Lowe's, Wal-Mart and Sears, as well hardware outlets, paint stores and appliance chains.
The RFP noted that in the past five years Home Depot has "lost its competitive advantage on all key brand drivers" and now compares unfavorably to Lowe's on shopping experience and is about equal in terms of products, inspiration, price and experience.