Double Whammy for Lowe

Two months after Lowe Lintas & Partners tapped DDB veteran Michael Furlong to steer creative development on Sun Microsystems, the officeis grappling with the loss of its marquee account.

Combined with news that its Burger King account is in review at the New York office, Lowe executives learned, in just one week, of a potential loss of $500 million in billings.

Sources said fellow IPG shop The Martin Agency, with offices in Richmond, Va., and San Fran-cisco, is pitching the $100 million account, against J. Walter Thompson USA and San Francisco interactive shop Tonic 360.

Still, Lowe will have to consider staff cuts to compensate for the loss of roughly a third to half of its bill-ings. Speculating on the size of the business, one source said, “I’d assume Sun was 70 to 80 percent of that office’s revenue.” A Lowe source said it was too early to tell if layoffs will be necessary.

A Martin win might also help in that regard. Conceivably, Lowe staff-ers who worked on the business could migrate to Martin, sources said. Pitches are scheduled for this week.

In parting with Sun, Lowe cited a conflict with Dell Computer, a client handled by its New York office. “As the technology category continues to stay ahead of the field, what originally was not a conflict becomes a conflict,” said agency CEO Lee Garfinkel.

The shop recently produced a series of print ads for Dell that poked fun at the dot in dot-com that was integral to Sun’s campaign.

The client could not be reached at press time.