San Francisco-based Levi's in a statement said it is asking select agencies to participate in the pitch, which is being led by search consultancy Jones Lundin Beals and is slated to wrap by December.
Bartle Bogle was invited to defend the Americas business. Levis said, but the shop declined the opportunity to repitch the business, CEO Emma Cookson said in a statement to Ad Age.* The agency will retain creative duties for the brand in Europe and Asia.
Agency representatives could not immediately be reached due to referred calls to the client.
Follows media review
The creative review follows a media-agency review Levi's launched in August. It also comes after cracks began to surface in its longtime relationship with Bartle Bogle, which also handles certain media duties for the brand. Levi's denied the rumors, though, saying that it was "very happy with the work" from Bartle Bogle.
Meanwhile, in recent months the marketer has farmed out creative campaigns -- especially viral work -- to other ad agency partners, such as Omnicom Group's Cutwater and EVB, San Francisco.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB is also a Levi's roster shop, handling creative work for the Dockers brand. Despite a sagging retail sector that has prompted many marketers in the space to scale back on ad budgets, Levi's is vowing to keep investing in its business, including stepping up its marketing efforts.
"Looking at the balance of the year, we are very mindful that economic conditions are deteriorating in many of our key markets around the world," said John Anderson, Levi's president-CEO, in a statement earlier this month. "In this challenging environment, we are continuing to invest in the business, including launching our first-ever global Levi's 501 campaign."
Measured media spending was down for the first half of the year, however, according to TNS Media Intelligence figures. Levi's spent just $17 million on domestic measured media between January and June of 2008, according to TNS, while it spent a total of $78 million in 2007. For the first nine months of 2008, the company's profits sank to $167 million from $193 million in the same period a year ago.
~ ~ ~
UPDATE: This story has been updated since its original post to reflect that Bartle Bogle will not defend the regional business.