McKinney Vies for No. 2 Computer-Printer Maker

Lexmark International is set to hear presentations from three agencies about its $10-15 million ad account, sources said.

Contenders are McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C.,LB Works in Chicago and Fallon in New York, sources said. It was unknown if incumbent Ocean Group in New York was participating in the review.

Shop officials either could not be reached or declined comment.

The review is being led by Roger Rydell, the Lexington, Ky., company’s vice president of corporate communications, and Lee Hester, who was pro moted to manager of corporate advertising and identity in March, sources said.

Rydell would not confirm an agen-cy search, saying only that Ocean Group remained the company’s shop.

Ocean Group absorbed the ac-count in September 2001 after Lexmark’s previous shop, Warwick Baker O’Neill, shut down. Ocean Group has no other sizable clients. The shop’s creative director and CEO, John Short, has handled the account since it landed at Warwick in 1999. A decision in the review is expected in early November, sources said.

The agencies competing have been asked for ideas on targeting small to midsize businesses with fewer than 500 employees, sources said. Lexmark’s current consumer ads tout its all-in-one computer printer, fax machine and scanner.

Recent TV spots from Ocean Group show an art critic, businessman and teenage girl examining the printer from the machine’s perspective. The tag: “Passion for printing ideas.”

Lexmark’s ad spending has been less than $10 million annually for the past five years, per CMR. The company’s more aggressive approach to small business could push that figure higher, sources said.

Doe-Anderson in Lexington, Ky., does Lexmark’s in-store promotions, and Optimedia in New York handles media chores. Those duties are not thought to be a part of the review.

Lexmark is the world’s No. 2 computer-printer manufacturer behind Hewlett-Packard.