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John Deere Puts Creative in Play

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CHICAGO John Deere has put creative duties on its $20 million advertising account into review after parting with Interpublic Group's DraftFCB here, the client confirmed late Friday.

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company has contracted consultancy Hasan + Co. to handle the competition for its commercial and consumer products business. Both the company's direct-response and advertising accounts are in review. The client may consider having separate agencies handle each piece, according to sources.

A DraftFCB representative said the agency had been invited to defend, but declined. "We have successfully collaborated for nearly seven years and are extremely proud of the work done to date," the rep said in a statement. "The DraftFCB team will do everything possible to ensure a very smooth transition to a new agency."

Changes within the client's marketing department prompted the review, according to sources.

Deere was actually a client of both Draft and Foote, Cone & Belding prior to the two agencies' merger last year. FCB had been the client's lead creative shop since 1999. Draft picked up promotions work in 2004. Independent agency Malone Advertising in Akron, Ohio, handles media; those duties are not in play.

Requests for information have already been sent out, according to sources. They are due back at the beginning of March. A decision is expected in May.

The company's iconic tagline is, "Nothing runs like a Deere."

Deere spent nearly $20 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. That was down nearly 30 percent from the previous year, per Nielsen.