Hedging Their Bets

4 Agencies Are Contenders for the Accounts Of Both Merrill Lynch and Chase Manhattan
NEW YORK–Contenders for the ad accounts of Merrill Lynch and Chase Manhattan emerged last week with four shops pitching both clients, sources said.
Merrill Lynch, through consultant Bill Weilbacher of Bismark Corp. in Dennis, Mass., has invited five New York shops to pitch its $70 million business: J. Walter Thompson; Foote, Cone & Belding; Grey Advertising, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles; and Lowe & Partners/SMS, sources said. Both the client and agencies declined comment.
The prevailing agency will handle the entire global account. A decision is expected in June. Merrill Lynch split with Bozell Worldwide here within the last month.
Separately, Chase Manhattan, via consultancy Geduldig & Ferguson here, held credentials meetings with some of the seven contenders for its $50 million account last week, sources said.
The seven include Merrill Lynch contenders FCB, Grey, Lowe and DMB&B, as well as Bozell, Saatchi & Saatchi and incumbent McCann-Erickson, also in New York, sources said. Both client and agencies declined comment. The four shops pitching both accounts may have to abandon one review, as the clients will likely see their businesses as conflicting.
The other Chase incumbent, Wells BDDP, an earlier contender, is being shuttered by new owner Omnicom.
A decision is expected in April, sources said. Sources also indicated that former JWT, New York, new business chief Bob Schrijver is helping Geduldig with the review. Schrijver did not return calls. –with staff report