Bic slates single image via global consolidation

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Societe Bic, the Clichy, France-based marketer of lighters, pens and shavers, is looking to consolidate its global advertising account at one agency.

Although U.S. spending has been minimal, the current worldwide ad budget is about $45 million. And that figure could be boosted "significantly," according to the consultant handling the review.

DOWN TO THREE SHOPS

The review has been narrowed to three agencies: Grey Advertising, TBWA Worldwide, and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Louis Quatorze, Paris, a unit of DDB Needham Worldwide and Euro RSCG Worldwide were cut last week.

"Bic wants to end the practice of fragmented communication in order to establish a single, solid message and image throughout the world," said review consultant Michel Chevassus, of Paris-based Videotheque.

A Bic spokeswoman said only, "We have no comment to give about the competition as it is still in process." The agencies also declined comment.

Bic currently employs a decentralized agency approach, with assignments broken up by region. Euro RSCG handles the bulk of the European work; Ogilvy & Mather, Paris, handles Wite-Out in Europe.

Greenstone Roberts, Melville, N.Y., handles U.S. advertising. The marketer also has operations in Central America, South America and Asia.

GREENSTONE UNCERTAIN

Executives at Greenstone Roberts said last week it was unclear if they would continue to work with Bic in any capacity after the review. The agency was not invited into the global review. Greenstone Roberts' last work for Bic was an estimated $5 million print campaign for Bic's product line launched last July.

SEEKING EXPANSIVE NETWORK

Mr. Chevassus, who met with top Bic managers in Asia, Europe and the U.S., said Bic is searching for an agency that not only has creative talent but also an expansive worldwide network and strong managers in New York and Paris.

"A lot of coordination and decisionmaking will be done in both cities, so the agency chosen will have to be very strongly implanted in both," he said.

Agency executives said Bic CEO Bruno Bich is taking an active role in the review, which began last month. The three remaining contenders will present on Dec. 4, with a final decision coming from Bic in mid- to late December.

Contributing: Bruce Crumley.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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