Bozell’s Clients Headed to Lowe

NEW YORK Bozell CEO Tom Bernardin confirmed that “steps have been taken to bring about a Bozell/Lowe merger,” in an internal memo sent to the Interpublic Group agency’s 375 staffers Monday morning.

In the memo obtained by Adweek, Bernardin wrote, “This idea has been discussed in the past and set aside for various reasons. Now, it seems a very likely and desirable change for all of us.”

Bernardin also said that all of Bozell’s clients, except for Bank of America, will move to Lowe. The $170 million BofA account, which would conflict with Lowe’s HSBC global business, “will not be a part of this transition,” he confirmed, adding that it “will be moving to another IPG agency. The client has been involved in these discussions and is confident that they will find the right agency fit within the IPG organization. The client and IPG have expressed a desire to have our team continue on this business.”

One option that has been floated is to shift the bulk of the business to Deutsch and a piece to Gotham [Adweek, Feb. 3]. Since Bozell’s successful defense of the $170 million account last year was led by IPG’s chief marketing officer, Bruce Nelson, the thinking is that BofA could move to another IPG shop without much disruption.

In closing, Bernardin, 49, who is in line to get a top spot at the combined entity, wrote: “As the many details of our new arrangement will continue to evolve over the next few weeks, I still don’t have the answers to all of the questions you would like answered. Be assured that every decision I make going forward will be in the best interests of our clients and our people.”

Bozell declined comment.