Charles Schwab Narrows Creative Search

Two agencies remain in the hunt

Charles Schwab has narrowed the field in its creative review.

The incumbent, Havas Worldwide, has been cut from the company's creative review along with Venables Bell & Partners, leaving two remaining finalists: Fallon and Crispin Porter + Bogusky, according to sources.

The cut comes a week after the four shops made creative presentations to Schwab executives at their office in San Francisco, sources said. More meetings are expected before the company selects a new agency, most likely by February.

Revenue on the account is estimated at more than $7 million.

Havas, the agency formerly known as Euro RSCG, has handled the business since 2004. While the cut is bad news for Havas, the shop's New York office will continue to work on another aspect of Charles Schwab's business that was not in play, according to a source.

The review began in September, after Charles Schwab installed a new chief marketing officer. Company veteran Jonathan Craig replaced Laurine Garrity, who held the job for 19 months.

Media planning and buying responsibilities are not part of the review and remain at Interpublic Group's UM.

Charles Schwab's media spending approached $70 million last year, down from $75 million in 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.

External View Consulting Group in Culver City, Calif. is managing the search. The consultancy did not return calls and Charles Schwab could not immediately be reached.