7 to Pitch Bridgestone

BOSTON Bridgestone Firestone today said it has invited seven agencies to compete for its broadcast creative and media assignment. Estimated billings are $25 million.

Asked to make capabilities presentations are: Havas’ Arnold in Boston; independent Cramer-Krasselt, Interpublic Group’s Foote Cone & Belding and Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett, all in Chicago; The Richards Group, an independent in Dallas; and Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group and WPP Group’s Grey (the incumbent), both in New York.

Finalists will be chosen early next month in the review being led by Pile and Co., the consulting company in Boston. A decision is expected in July.

Grey has held the account since 1998; its WPP sibling MediaCom handles buying chores.

Gish Sherwood, which is located near the Nashville, Tenn.-based client, is responsible for print duties, which are not in play.

This is the third tire account to go into review in the past six months. Goodyear, which had been with Arnold, awarded its estimated $40 million account in January to IPG’s McCann Erickson in New York. In April, B.F. Goodrich tapped IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., to handle its $15-20 million account.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Bridgestone Firestone spent a total of $45 million in all U.S. measured media in 2005 and $40 million in 2004.