The move ends months of speculation about troubles with the Lowe relationship and follows key management changes at Sony. The company earlier this year quietly contacted several agencies about a TV products assignment.
Sony Electronics President Carl Yankowski, considered close to Lowe, resigned earlier this year and was replaced by a Sony Corp. executive, Teruaki Aoki. On the ad side, Sony in March recruited Leo Burnett Co. veteran T. Scott Edwards to the new post of VP-advertising and marketing promotion.
A Sony spokesman said the company decided not to renew its Lowe contract after it expires in July because of changes in strategy, largely tied to Sony Corp.'s launch this spring of a global brand campaign created by Y&R Advertising, New York, and Dentsu, Japan. Y&R already works with Sony in Europe and is expected to make a strong play for the U.S. consumer electronics business now in review.
Sony is managing the review itself and will contact "a handful" of "world-class full-service" agencies, the spokesman said.
Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.