Pearle Vision is poised to move its $40 million marketing account to Stern Advertising in Cleveland, company officials said.
Larry Pollock, president of Pearle's parent company, Cole National, confirmed the move, saying he expected a contract to be finalized this week. Stern will handle creative duties on the account and will manage media through its partner in the Omnicom Group, Pollock said. That is expected to be OMD.
Officials at incumbent agency Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City were notified late last week that the account would be moving. Executives said they were taken by surprise by the move, noting they had only recently received an incentive bonus from Pearle based on their work in 1999.
Pollock said BE&P had done a "fine job," but new management at the Cleveland company wanted to work with a local agency. He said the client did not conduct a formal review, though Pearle officials met with "a few local agencies." Pollock said Stern's national reach through Omnicom was a key factor in the selection.
BE&P won Pearle's account in September 1998 after Pearle ended a 15-month relationship with McCann-Erickson in New York. Pearle has seen several management changes since then, including the departure of vice president of marketing Philip Alexander. Alexander was familiar with BE&P from a stint with the agency's former client Western Auto.
Pollock said Pearle's marketing budget was valued at around $40 million. The company spent only $8 million on measured advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. K