Shops Emerge in Timberland Creative Chase

About 20 agencies received materials from outdoor footwear and apparel maker Timberland, and at least nine are bidding to gain a spot on the semifinal list of contenders.

The Stratham, N.H., client is looking for a shop to handle creative chores on its estimated $15-20 million account after dismissing The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., three weeks ago. Media chores are not in play and will remain with Allscope Media in New York.

According to sources, Arnold, McLean, Va., Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles, Fallon, Minneapolis, and the New York offices of Cliff Freeman and Partners, Publicis, J. Walter Thompson, TBWA\Chiat\Day and Young & Rubicam are returning requests for proposals to the client.

The RFPs were issued through consulting company Select Resources International of West Hollywood, Calif.

SRI last week declined to identify agencies in receipt of the materials, as did Timberland representative Robin Matchett. The materials are due back today, and SRI is looking to name perhaps 5-7 semifinalists later this week, sources said. A decision is expected in August.

Timberland in May terminated Martin, an Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, after four years, saying it wanted to work with a creative resource with broader global reach. Martin’s recent ads for the client were tagged, “For the journey.” Prior to Martin, the account was briefly handled by BBDO, New York, after a lengthy stay at Mullen, Wenham, Mass.

Matchett said creatively driven shops with a strong presence in Europe and Asia are preferred. Timberland is looking to become more of a player in overseas markets, a prime motivation for the review, Matchett said.

Sources said Timberland also wants to be a “significant player” on the roster of the agency it selects?ie: among the shop’s larger clients.

Timberland spent about $15 million on ads in 2000, double its spending the previous year, per CMR. Its sales grew 19 percent in 2000 to $1.1 billion.