Sebago to See 4 Shops

BOSTON-Sebago has asked four agencies to make final presentations for its estimated $1-3 million ad account, formerly handled by Holt, Hughes & Stamell in Portland, Maine.
Kelley/Dexter, Clarke Goward and Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners, all in Boston, and Balet & Albert, New York, advanced to the final round, according to David Murphy, a partner at Newton, Mass.-based startup consultancy Rossin & Murphy.
The four finalists are roughly the same size, and all are suited for an account of this nature, said Murphy. Balet & Albert’s background includes work for a number of high-end, fashion-oriented clients, he noted.
Presentations have been scheduled for later this month, Murphy said, and a final decision is expected in early November.
Instead of asking for a speculative creative presentation, however, each finalist has been asked to present case histories of work prepared for other clients and a media plan specific to Sebago.
For this particular review, speculative creative was not warranted, Murphy said. “If the client had asked for that, we would have asked the agencies to provide it, but in most cases, I would reason against it. Why? Because in almost every circumstance . . . the client falls in love with spec work that isn’t going to run. [The result is] a lot of time and money for nothing.”
The winning agency of the Gorham, Maine-based shoe maker’s print-based ad account will handle both creative duties and media buying chores, Murphy said.
Sebago, which makes hand-sewn shoes for men and women, had worked with Holt, Hughes & Stamell for the past six years. The agency accepted then declined an invitation to participate in the review [Adweek, Oct. 6]. Agency principal George Hughes said his shop withdrew because the client is seeking “a more traditional agency relationship with heavier emphasis on advertising versus marketing strategy.”