4 Advance in Home Depot Pitch

NEW YORK Four agencies have advanced to the final round of Home Depot’s $580 million creative review, sources said.

Sources identified the shops as Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday in Boston, WPP Group’s JWT in New York, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, and the incumbent, independent The Richards Group in Dallas.

Client executives selected the finalists after visiting seven shops last month.

WPP’s Grey and Interpublic’s McCann Erickson, both in New York, were among those that did not advance, according to sources.

The agencies either declined to comment or did not return calls. Home Depot could not immediately be reached, and the consultancy managing the process, Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., did not return calls.

The next step in the review is a briefing this week at Home Depot’s headquarters in Atlanta, according to an initial request for proposals that the company issued in August. The client also plans a round of work sessions before final presentations, which are scheduled for early next month.

Home Depot, which last year spent nearly $580 million in major measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, is looking to reposition itself in an increasingly competitive marketplace that includes Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and Sears, as well as hardware outlets, paint stores and appliance chains.

The RFP noted that in the past five years the company has “lost its competitive advantage on all key brand drivers” and now compares unfavorably to Lowe’s on shopping experience and is about equal in terms of products, inspiration, price and experience.

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