Oracle Corp. is reviewing its $42 million account, ending a four-year hitch with Think New Ideas and predecessor agencies.
The business software marketer has a list of contenders and will issue invitations today.
A spokesman said DDB Needham Worldwide and Think New Ideas are on the list.
DDB Needham already has a relationship with Oracle; its BMP DDB, London, works with Think New Ideas on advertising in international markets. DDB Needham parent Omnicom Group holds a minority stake in Think New Ideas.
'PROBABLY BETTER' TO 'MOVE ON'
The West Hollywood, Calif.-based agency created a series of campaigns for Oracle, including a Super Bowl spot last year, which raised the company's profile.
"The creative differences have gotten to the point where it probably is better for both sides to move on," said Larry Kopald, Think New Ideas' chief creative officer. He declined to elaborate.
Mr. Kopald had won the account while at Ketchum Advertising, Los Angeles, which later changed its name to Fathom. Think New Ideas acquired Fathom in 1997.
The new agency will face the challenge of working with Oracle's mercurial founder, Chairman-CEO Larry Ellison.
Think New Ideas' relationship became strained as a new marketing team took over and Mr. Ellison assumed a central role in advertising and marketing.
"Everyone in the industry knows Larry Ellison likes to write his own copy and art direct every ad," said an executive familiar with the company.
The review is being managed by Oracle executive Malcolm Hobbs.
The split eliminates a possible future conflict. In October, Think New Ideas' New York office was added to IBM Corp.'s interactive agency roster, and IBM is believed to have expressed concerns that Oracle might pose a conflict.
News of the review comes as Oracle breaks a $10 million, eight-week TV campaign this week that positions the company as "The e-business engine"--borrowing the "e-business" mantra created for IBM by Ogilvy & Mather, New York.
Oracle's animated spots feature the logos of such companies as Amazon.com, General Motors Corp. and British Airways, which power their e-businesses with Oracle software.
Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.