Lowe Snags $60-80 Mil. Ricoh Biz

NEW YORK — Lowe has landed global corporate-image duties on Ricoh Co., an office-equipment maker that touts the connectivity of its products. Billings were not disclosed, but sources indicated that such an effort would require spending of about $60-80 million.

Ricoh selected the Interpublic Group shop over Euro RSCG, Hakuhodo, K&L and the team of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Dentsu, said sources. Each agency or team presented strategic concepts to a panel of Ricoh executives in Tokyo last month. The selection was finalized last week.

“We found [Lowe’s] business strategy, insight, creative prowess and global reach [to be] an essential combination for Ricoh’s ambitious plans,” said Peter Takata, general manager, international marketing group at Ricoh in Tokyo.

The company, which makes copiers, printers, PCs and fax machines, now wants to be known more as a provider of “network technology solutions.”

Lowe’s pitch team included New York office president Rob Quish, executive planning director Richard Lee and Alan Jurmain, director of media services for the U.S. The business will

be run out of New York, with help from Lowe & Partners/Standard in Tokyo.

“Now is the time [to develop a global positioning],” said Quish. “They’ve got the products and a new story to tell.”

There was no incumbent. Three years ago, Ricoh split with Leo Burnett, which previously handled a global assignment. The client still employs several shops around the world, each of which creates product-specific ads on a regional basis.

On the global account, Lowe will handle media planning duties and U.S. media buying. Fellow IPG shop Initiative Media North America will buy media outside the U.S.

Ricoh, which competes with Canon and Xerox, positions itself as reliable and technologically advanced in radio and print ads from New York shop Gigante Vaz Partners. The campaign, which was launched in late 2000, uses comedian Dennis Miller for voiceovers and employs the tagline, “Dependable digital.”

The Ricoh win comes two months after Lowe added U.S. ad duties on HSBC ($10-15 million), a client in London. The wins have helped offset the loss of Heineken, which shifted its $60 million U.S. account to D’Arcy in March. Lowe now claims billings of $1.2 billion in the U.S.