Kodak Mulls Shop Relationships

The Eastman Kodak Co. is weighing options besides lead agency Ogilvy & Mather, as it retools its branding strategy for the digital age, sources said last week.

In recent months, Kodak chief marketing officer Carl Gustin and Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts have met to discuss possibly shifting a portion of the client’s estimated $120 million U.S. account, now at Ogilvy, to Saatchi, sources said.

Roberts, sensing that a wholesale shift is unlikely, has suggested that Saatchi and Ogilvy split the business, according to sources. Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland in Rochester creates ads and collateral for Kodak’s professional products, and Saatchi’s New York office handles consumer ads targeting the youth market.

Those talks follow a Kodak review last summer that focused on digital products. Ogilvy prevailed over Merkley Newman Harty, The Martin Agency and Temerlin McClain, according to sources. Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG was approached, but did not pitch, sources said.

Ogilvy, Kodak’s lead agency since 1995, broke work in March for digital and one-time-use cameras that bowed the tagline: “Share moments. Share life.” Previous ads carried the tagline, “Take pictures. Further.”

It’s unclear whether Kodak will act on Saatchi’s overture. But one source noted that Gustin is “open to hearing new thoughts.” Saatchi and Ogilvy could not be reached, and Gustin, via a company rep, dismissed talk of reassigning business.

“We are very happy with the work that both agencies are doing currently. They do a very good job with the areas we’ve assigned them,” the rep said. “There’s nothing to whatever it is you’ve been hearing lately.”

Sources said Ogilvy’s grip on the business has loosened since the review. Saatchi was not believed to be involved in the process, managed by Morgan Anderson Consulting. Morgan Anderson could not be reached.

Last week, Kodak installed a new COO and president: former Lucent exec Patricia Russo. Responsible for Kodak’s daily operations, she shares strategic duties with CEO Daniel Carp, Kodak said. She reports to Carp.