Lowe

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2002 Rating: 1 star

2001 Rating: 1 star

After a slew of client exits (Dell Computer Corp., United Parcel Service and Lego Systems) and staff cuts in 2001, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe appeared to be headed into 2002 hopeful that better times lay ahead. Creatively, the New York shop delivered standout work vs. its competition for clients including Unilever (All detergent and Bestfoods' Hellmann's mayonnaise) in categories that generally suffer from boring advertising.

But in terms of growth from new business, 2002 was a wash. Wins from Ricoh (handled with Lowe's Japanese partner shop), Johnson & Johnson and HSBC offset loses in beverages and telecom. As expected, Heineken USA's Heineken and Amstel Light accounts left in January. This fall, upstart rival McGarry Bowen snagged imaging-and-branding advertising for Verizon Communications, leaving Lowe with less sexy DSL and consumer local-and-long-distance work. Lowe's always tentative grip on Coca-Cola Co.'s Diet Coke loosened completely in December, when Interpublic sibling Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York and Chicago, won it after a review.

LOOKING AHEAD

Interpublic promises that London-based Lowe soon will be "more closely aligned" with sibling shops DraftWorldwide and Zipatoni, and perhaps other Interpublic agencies. Expect some management rearrangements early this year.

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