Publicis Out of Smith Barney

NEW YORK Publicis said it would not pitch the estimated $35 million Smith Barney account a week after receiving an invitation from the client.

The New York office of the Publicis Groupe shop “was invited into the Smith Barney review but decided to pass on the opportunity,” said an agency representative, who declined further comment.

Publicis’ exit leaves three contenders for the business: WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam, Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson and independent Gardner Nelson & Partners, all in New York, said sources.

Y&R and McCann pitched last week and Gardner Nelson is making its final presentation this week, sources said.

The review was triggered largely by the incumbent, IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, taking on creative duties for the global wealth and investment management division of Bank of America, a Smith Barney competitor
[Adweek Online, March 22]. As such, Hill, Holliday did not defend.

Smith Barney is a division of Citigroup Global Capital Markets, whose parent company, Citigroup, also owns Citibank. The bank last month named Publicis its lead global agency, after seven years with Publicis Groupe’s Fallon in that role.

The process is being managed by New York-based consultancy Source Martin.