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Little Tikes Seeks Shop for Creative Biz

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The Little Tikes Co. has contacted 15 agencies nationwide about creative duties on its $6 million account.

The company issued proposal requests late last month, said Laurie Yingling, communications manager for the client, a Hudson, Ohio-based division of Newell/ Rubbermaid that manufactures infant and preschool products. The account has been handled by McCann-Erickson, New York, which won the business in January 2002. It was unclear whether McCann would defend.

"We felt that McCann was just not a good fit," Yingling said. She would not elaborate.

The company wants an agency that has experience in the toy category and is familiar with the company's history, Yingling said. Little Tikes also wants a shop that can devote a good deal of time to the brand's advertising needs, Yingling said.

"We want to know what order we will be in the mix" compared with an agency's other clients, Yingling said. Little Tikes is looking at both small and large shops, and location does not matter, she said.

The company has not established a timetable for the review, but it expects to make a decision or cut to two finalists in September, Yingling said.

McCann last week lost Little Tikes' media duties, which were awarded to Empower Media Marketing in Cincinnati. According to Empower executives, the agency has begun planning a $7 million fourth-quarter campaign that will involve broadcast network and national cable television, as well as print.