Harrisdirect Calls $20 Mil. Creative Review

NEW YORK Online brokerage Harrisdirect has launched a review of its creative account and has hired New York consultancy ADvice & ADvisors to manage the process, the consultant confirmed. Sources estimated billings at $20 million.

Euro RSCG in New York previously handled the business. The Jersey City, N.J., client, however, split with Havas agency in November after it landed Charles Schwab’s estimated $100 million account, said sources.

Harrisdirect has contacted about a dozen New York agencies, requesting creative samples and examples of relevant case histories, said sources. Based on those submissions, client executives will cut to six to eight shops for visits and, based on those meetings, they will select four finalists, according to sources. The client is expected to hire an agency by mid-April.

Harrisdirect is a division of the Bank of Montreal in Toronto, which also owns Harris Bank in Chicago. Executives from the parent company will participate in the review process, as well as Harrisdirect’s interim marketing chief, Diane Cullen, who recently joined from Euro RSCG in New York, where she previously was general manager for North America, said sources.

Major media spending on the brand has fluctuated between nearly $15 million in 2002 to about $1 million in 2003 and less than $10 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.