Capital One Down to 3

NEW YORKThree agencies have advanced as finalists for the U.S. portion of Capital One’s $170 million creative account, a client representative confirmed.

Pam Girardo identified the agencies as Omnicom’s Element 79 in Chicago, Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson, and Publicis Groupe’s the Kaplan Thaler Group, both New York. Not advancing were Grey Global Group’s Grey Worldwide in New York and IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., sources said.

Girardo said that because the account includes the U.K. market, Element 79 is partnering in the pitch with sister shop AMV BBDO in London, the Kaplan Thaler Group is partnering with sibling Publicis in London, and McCann-Erickson is pitching from its New York and London offices. Independent London boutique Faulds is pitching for the U.K. account only.

Girardo said Capital One could conceivably split the creative between different agencies in the two markets.

The Falls Church, Va., client will brief the finalists this month with final presentations scheduled for sometime in March. A winner is expected by April 1. Girardo would not comment on the timetable of the review process.

Capital One put its account in review in December, just two months after Publicis Groupe announced it would dismantle the client’s agency since 1999, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, which officially closed its doors on Jan. 31. Many of D’Arcy’s accounts were absorbed by sibling Publicis Groupe agencies.

D’Arcy created Capital One’s 3-year-old “What’s in your wallet?” campaign.

Los Angeles-based consultancy Bob Wolf Partners/TPG is managing the review for the client.