Minolta Has 12 Agencies In Focus For Its $20 Mil. Image Account

Minolta is talking to 12 shops about its entire $20 million brand image account.
Dan Gallagher, Minolta’s director of communications, said the Ramsey, N.J., client would narrow the contender’s list from that dozen to six, and then to three finalists before hiring an agency by May 4. He would not identify any agencies on the list.
Lois/EJL, New York, which has handled the account since 1994, is not participating. Ray Hilton, the shop’s managing director, said there was a “mutual agreement to part ways.”
Gallagher joined Minolta after six years at Volvo, where he was involved in marketing services and worked closely with the car maker’s agency, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York. Before that, Gallagher worked at Sony in various capacities.
Gallagher said Minolta will update its tagline, “Only from the mind of Minolta,” and would like to give the brand an upscale image. Minolta products currently have a reputation for high quality, durability and good value. The prevailing agency will be expected to deliver a campaign covering the lion’s share of Minolta’s product lines–cameras and office equipment–in time for Photokina, the international photographic trade show in Germany, slated for September.
Minolta’s ad budget is double last year’s: the company spent $8.5 million between January and November 1997, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Minolta is currently using freelancers to do two print campaigns, the first of which breaks in May or June, sources said.