5 Agencies Hope to Play Their Cards Right

By Jennifer Comiteau

NEW YORK–Five agencies emerged last week as contenders in the contest for the creative portion of MasterCard International’s estimated $85-90 million account. In addition, the identity of the consultancy hired by the Purchase, N.Y.-based company was also revealed.

Four of the five agencies MasterCard is considering currently work for the client. They are New York-based D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, McCann-Erickson and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, as well as Austin, Texas-based GSD&M, sources said. The only non-roster shop currently being considered for the business is Grey Advertising, New York, said sources. Agency executives either could not be reached or referred calls to the client.

Meanwhile, MasterCard has retained Morgan, Anderson & Co. Executives from the New York consultancy did not attend the agency credential meetings that began last week, leading some to speculate that they were hired to negotiate compensation following MasterCard’s selection of an agency. Executives at Morgan, Anderson did not return calls last week, and representatives at MasterCard declined comment.

Creative concepts will be tested before the client selects a shop, according to sources.

Ammirati Puris Lintas, MasterCard’s creative agency for four years, declined to defend the account, which was placed in review in March.

There has been some disagreement inside MasterCard as to how to approach the evaluation process, and whether both its domestic and international ad accounts are involved, said sources. At this point, the review is believed to be limited to the U.S.

GSD&M handles domestic media chores for MasterCard. MVBMS is MasterCard’s promotional agency while DMB&B works for the company in Asia. McCann works with MasterCard in other international markets.

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