2 Shops Chase Estée Lauder’s Global Creative Account

Selection in the search is expected next month

Estée Lauder is in the final stages of a search for an agency to handle a global creative assignment, as the cosmetics giant continues to rethink its agency roster.

The assignment includes both traditional and digital advertising for the flagship brand, according to sources. Global media spending could not be ascertained, but in the U.S. alone the brand spent more than $120 million in media in 2002 and about $80 million in the first nine months of 2013, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.

Two weeks ago, McKinney, Sid Lee and Johannes Leonardo made presentations to Estée Lauder executives and the company has since narrowed the field to Sid Lee and Johannes Leonardo, according to sources. Another round of meetings is expected before the company hires a shop.

The current contest comes four months after Estée Lauder appointed 360i lead digital agency on its Clinique brand. That selection followed a review that Select Resources International helped manage. SRI, which is based in Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the current search as well, sources said.

Historically, Estée Lauder has employed creative agencies on a regional basis, with, for example, Lloyd & Co. producing ads in the U.S. and Hush creating campaigns in the U.K. Going forward, however, the marketer is expected to shift to a more global approach, though it may still use regional shops.

Global media responsibilities are not in play and remain at Omnicom Group’s OMD.

SRI did not return calls and the New York-based Estée Lauder had no comment. The company plans to complete its latest search next month.