Rives Carlberg in Houston has landed among four finalists for the Citgo Petroleum account, estimated at $12-15 million by sources.
Citgo advertising manager Donald Rucks confirmed that Rives will compete against Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, Mo.; Hal Riney & Partners/Heartland, Chicago; and Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich. Rives was the only Southwest agency to emerge from 23 initial respondents to the Tulsa, Okla.-based retail gas firm's questionnaire. The company's creative account is currently handled in-house. Media First International, New York, had handled media chores. Rives president, chief executive Chuck Carlberg could not be reached for comment. Rucks said all four agencies have been given a project to complete in time for presentations in the first week of May. Sources said the contenders have been asked to discuss communication strategy and brand insight, along with creative and media ideas.
A decision will follow shortly after those presentations, Rucks told Adweek.
"There was a lot of experience in the category" among the quartet, Rucks said, "but it was not the driving force behind the decision."
Citgo began its search in March for a shop to handle its first major consumer branding push. The company has primarily depended on point-of-sale and promotional marketing through its independent distributors, including Southland's 7-Eleven convenience store chain. Rives has experience with retail auto-related accounts, working with Jiffy Lube co-ops in Texas and the Midwest. It also has a relationship with Exxon Chemical Co.
--with Aaron Barr