Toshiba America has narrowed the list of contenders competing for its $30 million computer systems account, sources said.
The remaining shops are JSM+ Communications, Santa Monica, Calif.; D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles; and DGWB Advertising, Irvine, Calif., according to sources. Shafer Advertising, Irvine, and Winkler Advertising, San Francisco, have been eliminated, sources said.
The Irvine-based client held what were believed to be final presentations earlier this month, said sources. However, at the insistence of an unnamed marketing executive at parent company Toshiba Corp. in Japan, the shops were then unexpectedly asked to make a second "final" round of presentations, which occurred late last week.
A client representative confirmed last week that a cut had been made, but declined to elaborate. The representative did confirm a decision was "days away." Agency executives declined to comment.
Toshiba, the worldwide leader in laptop sales, put the account in review three months ago [Adweek, April 26]. Incumbent Bozell Worldwide, Costa Mesa, Calif., was invited to defend but declined to participate.
JSM+'s ultimate parent company, Japan's Dentsu, is a Toshiba Corp. roster shop.
The search is being overseen by Toshiba America's director of marketing Bonnie Poe.
Toshiba spent almost $28 million on advertising for its computer services division in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.