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Berger Funds Starts Search

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Berger Associates in Denver is holding a review to select an agency to handle its consumer advertising account. Creative duties as well as media planning and buying chores are in play.
The mutual funds provider has retained Wrentham, Mass.-based consulting firm DeRemer & Associates to screen applicants. Darlene DeRemer, the consultant overseeing the search process, did not return calls by press time.
Billings are $10-12 million, sources said. According to Tom Blackburn, a senior vice president at Berger Associates, that estimate may be high, with the actual value of the account falling slightly below that range.
The company spent $4.5 million in 1997 and $3.5 million on advertising through April, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
DeRemer has been in touch with "at least 10 agencies" on Berger's behalf, said Blackburn.
While he declined to name the shops that have been contacted, DeRemer stressed that the competition is now closed and that further submissions will not be considered.
The client is seeking an agency to help market its Berger Funds directly to consumers, Blackburn said.
Geography is not being taken into consideration and agencies all around the country are being invited to participate, he said.
Midsized players with at least some financial services experience have been contacted, sources said.
Blackburn did not say when cuts to the initial list of contenders would be made. He did say, however, the review is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.
The client last worked with Lowe Fox Pavlika in New York. That relationship has ended and the shop is not involved in the review, Blackburn said. He declined to say why the relationship fizzled. Agency officials could not be reached by press time.
--with Steve Krajewsk