Dunlop Consolidation Advances

DETROIT — Three agencies have emerged as finalists in the competition for Dunlop Tire’s consolidated North American and European account, sources said.

Squaring off for the business, worth an estimated $25-30 million, are Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco; Arnold in Boston; and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London, sources said.

A fourth, undisclosed finalist from Britain was also in the fray, but has dropped out because of a conflict, a source said.

Dunlop’s parent, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., has said it plans a major repositioning of the brand this year. Spending in the U.S. has not been high in recent years, with just $2 million recorded from January-November of last year by CMR, and $1 million through all of 2000.

But sources said those numbers will increase dramatically in the coming year, although the split between U.S. and European spending could not be determined.

Goodby last April bested finalist GSD&M in a high-profile review for Goodyear’s U.S. duties, which had been at J. Walter Thompson in Detroit. Last fall, Goodby broke its first campaign for the client, tagged, “On the wings of Goodyear.”

The Dunlop review was confirmed by a representative for Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear. The representative declined to confirm contenders or divulge any details regarding the pitch. Contenders either declined comment or could not be reached.

Domestically, Dunlop has been handled by Marcus Thomas in Cleveland, which has also done work for Goodyear’s Kelly Tires brand.

A representative for Marcus Thomas described the review as a “branding issue” and said it wasn’t expected to affect the agency’s business with Dunlop, which centers on retail work and dealer communications.

The agency in the last few months broke a print campaign for Dunlop, tagged, “Drivers know.” The print ads carry the headline, “A driver knows life’s too short to be spent at red lights,” which emphasizes the brand’s reputation for high performance.

The European incumbent is 180, Amsterdam, which won the account last year following a shootout with Springer & Jacoby International. The business previously had been handled by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.

Goodyear bought Dunlop from Sumitomo Rubber in 1999.