Pizza Hut has selected Ogilvy & Mather, Cliff Freeman and Partners, both New York, and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., to compete in a review to handle project advertising, sources said.
Media spending on the assignment was undisclosed. Pizza Hut spent $140 million overall in U.S. media in 2001, according to CMR.
While the account is limited to an assignment, contenders consider it to be significant because it allows them to get a foot in the door with a big- spending, high-profile client.
The Dallas-based client in December confirmed it was looking for a secondary agency to BBDO in New York, which has held the main ad account since 1987.
It is not the first time Pizza Hut looked beyond BBDO. In late 1993, the client put its kids' advertising account into review, awarding the $10 million assignment to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.
Nine months later, Goodby competed against BBDO in a creative shootout for the whole account. BBDO retained the business.
Goodby kept the kids' business until September 1997, when the client moved it to BBDO after a reorganization at the the client's then-parent company, PepsiCo. Pizza Hut is now part of Tricon Global, also affiliated with PepsiCo.
The agencies declined comment as did a client representative.