Three West Coast shops are among the agencies competing for Charles Schwab & Co.'s $30 million sports sponsorship account, most recently handled by Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York and San Francisco. The four shops involved are sensing a bigger opportunity, however, with Schwab hinting at more assignments on its estimated $120 million business, said sources.
Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco; and BBDO, New York, will compete for the creative and strategic assignment in a closed pitch, said Len Short, executive vice president of advertising and brand management for the San Francisco-based financial services company. The winner, to be crowned in four to six weeks, will handle the client's sponsorship of the PGA Tour, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and other ad duties.
Short confirmed the assignment is "potentially broader" but declined to elaborate. The winner, said sources, could eventually pitch Schwab's $40 million OneSource mutual funds program, creative duties for which are now handled on a project basis by Cohn Godley Norwood in Boston. Schwab might also ask its roster agencies to compete for a corporate branding effort, sources said.
Suissa Miller Advertising, Los Angeles, which recently won Schwab's $40 million core discount brokerage services account without a review, is not involved in the search, said Short. Lowe, dropped by Schwab for pitching Merrill Lynch's global account, is not invited, said Short.
Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica, Calif., and The Media Edge, New York, handle most of Schwab's media planning and buying duties.
--with Jane Irene Kelly, Teresa Buyikian and Judy Warner