CVS Contacts More Than 10 Shops for Pitch

By Hank Kim

NEW YORK–CVS, embarking on its second review this year, has invited more than 10 agencies to pitch the creative portion of its $20-30 million ad account, said sources last week.

Agencies that received questionnaires include Deutsch, Bates USA and Grey Advertising, all New York. Boston-based Ingalls Advertising is the incumbent for both the creative and media planning and buying duties. Ingalls already made its presentation to company officials in an effort to retain the creative account, according to agency chairman Bink Garrison. The shop is not defending the media business, which went into review earlier this year.

Morgan, Anderson & Co. here is overseeing both evaluations for the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company.

A questionnaire, which requests capabilities and creative samples to be submitted by Thursday, May 15, states that CVS is ‘seeking an advertising agency to develop a branding initiative that will establish a highly relevant and differentiated presence among (CVS’) target audience. This initiative will be primarily executed in electronic media but will also be reflected in all forms of customer communication.’

The letter goes on to explain that CVS wants an agency that can ‘create tactical communications which, in addition to being highly effective in sales and retail traffic, are consistent with. . .the overall brand equity.’

CVS is poised to close the $2.8 billion acquisition this summer of Revco D.S. Inc., another leading drugstore chain. The Saffer Group in Don Mills, Ontario, handles creative chores for Revco. The CVS-Revco deal will create the second-largest drugstore company, second only to Walgreen Stores. Combined billings on the account will be around $45 million.

The media search came down to DeWitt Media and TBS Media Management, both New York, sources said. CVS had decided on DeWitt but scrapped the idea when the agency was assigned business from rival Rite Aid. The current state of the review was unknown at press time. Morgan, Anderson and CVS could not be reached for comment. –with staff reports

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED