Carmichael Lynch is among six semifinalists in the review for pen maker A.T. Cross, sources said.
Joining the Minneapolis agency in the hunt are Avrett, Free & Ginsberg; Bates USA; D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; and Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners, all in New York; and The Martin Agency, based in Richmond, Va.
The six semifinalists were selected based on their ability to craft branding campaigns with broad consumer appeal, sources said.
A pair of agencies with existing ties to the client are not involved. Boston-based Pagano Schenck
& Kay, which in recent years has handled media chores for the client after crafting A.T. Cross ads in the mid-1990s, is not among the semifinalists. "We were involved in the initial stages," noted PSK representative Amy Swearingen.
Also absent from the list is Ellenson Group, a New York design shop that has worked for the client's Pen Computer Group and is preparing to help launch the Morph product line. It is unknown if Ellenson made a bid for inclusion in the current review. Ellenson executives did not return calls at press time.
Consultants at Pile and Co., Boston, which is overseeing the search, declined to confirm the list and referred queries to client officials. Sondra Wellmerling, senior vice president of marketing and new-product development with A.T. Cross in Lincoln, R.I., also refused to say which shops advanced last week.
The client spent about $7 million per year from 1995-98. Spending fell to about $3 million last year, but Wellmerling has said the budget will increase this year as the client prepares a global campaign set to break later this year or early in 2001.
The list of semifinalists will be cut to finalists by month's end after agency capabilities are screened. The finalists will then be given "an assignment specific to this brand," Wellmerling said. A final decision is expected in March. K