After selecting two finalists in its review--D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Mullen--Goldman Sachs is quietly talking to Ogilvy & Mather about that shop taking on its $25 million ad account.
A decision was expected three weeks ago after Mullen, in Wenham, Mass., and D'Arcy, here, made final pitches to the client [Adweek, July 10]. But Ogilvy's overtures to Goldman Sachs at about the same time have prolonged the process, sources said.
Ogilvy, which is owned by the WPP Group, is "negotiating at the highest [executive] levels" with the investment company, one source said. Goldman Sachs, along with Merrill Lynch, advised WPP in its recent purchase of Young & Rubicam.
The review began in April with at least 12 shops vying for the business. Ogilvy was an early contender, said sources, but withdrew because of a possible conflict with American Express. AmEx spent $345 million in U.S. measured media in 1999, per Competitive Media Reporting. An AmEx official declined comment.
Bill Gray, co-president of Ogilvy, New York, said the shop had declined to return a questionnaire and has never been in the review. "We are not pitching Goldman Sachs," he said. Gray declined further comment.
Executives at Goldman Sachs and Pile and Co., Boston, which is handling the review, declined comment, as did Mullen and D'Arcy officials.
Before the review, Goldman Sachs' business had been shared by three New York shops: Lowe Lintas & Partners handled corporate-image duties, Doremus created business-to-business ads and Mezzina/Brown did recruitment ads and collateral.