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Texas, Carolina Agencies Are Put To the Test by Shell Chemical Co.

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DALLAS-At least four first-round shops are awaiting word of a cut in a review for the $5-7 million account of Shell Chemical Co. in Houston.
Sources last week said incumbent Black Rogers Sullivan Goodnight, Fogarty Klein & Partners and Ogilvy & Mather, all in Houston, and Howard, Merrell & Partners of Raleigh, N.C., are among the agencies invited by the client to submit capabilities.
BRSG principal Scott Black said the account is among his shop's largest and he believes the agency can successfully defend it, as it has in the past.
"This is a process Shell calls 'bench marking.' They've done it before. In fact, they did it a couple of years ago," Black said. "They just want to see what else is out there."
Executives at the other agencies either could not be reached or declined to comment. It was not clear at press time if additional shops were also being considered.
BRSG picked up the Shell Chemical business through an acquisition of Houston business-to-business agency MDR in 1990.
Ann Iverson, who heads the Houston consultancy Creating Selling Opportunities, is assisting in the search. She declined to confirm agencies that had been invited, but said an initial list of contenders would be narrowed by this week.
Iverson, a former senior vice president and group management supervisor at Ogilvy & Mather's Houston office, said earlier that Shell was considering agencies both in and outside the Houston market.
Ogilvy & Mather handles advertising for Shell Oil Co. and successfully averted attempts by GSD&M of Austin, Texas, to lure away that client's ad business last year.
Shell Chemical manufactures a number of products used in a variety of consumer goods. It is a leading supplier of Kraton, a substance used in Ray- Ban sunglasses, and also produces Neodol, a key ingredient in products like Tide laundry detergent.
Shell is expected to trim the agency list to three or fewer contenders for final presentations, with a decision expected in October.
-with Jim Osterman