Lowe

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2003 Rating: 1 star

2002 Rating: 1 star

In the U.S., Lowe still has a pulse, but not a strong one. Last February, parent Interpublic Group of Cos. combined the New York-based agency with sibling Bozell-an anticipated move that resulted in client departures or reassignments due to conflicts (e.g. Andrew Jergens Co., Bank of America and Fujitsu). Others following them out the door: Lowe's single interactive-only account, Dell Computer Corp.; Verizon Communications; Unilever Bestfoods' Hellmann's mayonnaise; and Valvoline Co. New accounts included Federated Department Stores, for the Macy's brand; Rainbow DBS' Voom; Electrolux; and Carfax. Top-heavy after the merger, Lowe thinned management midyear. Former Bozell chief Tom Bernardin was named Lowe CEO; former CEO Paul Hammersley and President Robert Quish departed. Creatively, the agency's output was mixed. TV for GMC's Envoy XL is straightforward and crisp; the repositioning of Unilever's Snuggle bear met uneven reviews.

LOOKING AHEAD

Though agency spokesmen say the major offices of Lowe and DraftWorldwide will never merge entirely, the two entities have been united in smaller markets globally. Stateside, bringing Lowe and Draft together seems inevitable.

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