BP Contacts Agencies

NEW YORK British oil giant BP said it has sent out requests for information to an undisclosed number of agencies, though the company claims its account is not in review.

WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather has handled creative chores on BP’s estimated $200 million global ad account since 1999, while WPP sibling Mindshare handles media planning and buying services. The RFI covers only Ogilvy’s portion of the business.

The BP move comes after two days of management meetings in London after which, according to a source, it was decided to seek out information from a wide group of agencies.

“BP has begun an exercise to gather information on the current advertising market to enable a routine benchmarking of advertising suppliers and contracts,” said a BP representative in a statement. “The process, led by our central Group procurement function, is standard practice throughout BP’s activities worldwide.”

BP, however, made it clear in its statement that this does not constitute a formal agency review: “Ogilvy are BP’s advertising agency and Mindshare provide media planning and buying services. This exercise is not a review or a pitch for business and in no way implies dissatisfaction with our relationship with Ogilvy (and Mindshare).”

Ogilvy executives were not immediately available for comment.