Aftershocks from the 1999 merger of Ammirati Puris Lintas and Lowe & Partners to form Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York, continued to rock the agency in 2000. Many big-name clients left due to post-merger conflicts, including Sun Microsystems, Denny's, American Home Products Corp.'s Robitussin and Unilever's Mentadent.
In addition, blue-chip brands such as Burger King Corp., KPMG, Goldman Sachs, Ameritech Corp. and Hoffman-La Roche's Xenical left.
Lowe was able to gain work from existing clients Heineken (the global assignment), Legoland Parks, Schering-Plough Pharma-
ceuticals (media) and UPS (media). Creative client Dell Computer Corp. added Lowe Lintas Interactive to its roster.
The Interpublic Group of Cos. agency picked up DisneyQuest, InterNAP Network Services and the Merrill Lynch/HSBC joint venture. Bluestreak awarded its business to Lowe Lintas Interactive and Lowe Lintas Direct.
Those new-business wins along with 3Com Corp., RCN Corp. and Novartis' Foradil and Lamisil brands helped to offset losses, but not by enough. Lowe says it posted a net loss of $4 million in billings last year.
Accompanying the account shifts were personnel changes. Between 20 and 30 employees who worked on the Burger King business were laid off. In December the agency announced the departure of Bruce Kelly, its U.S. president and the dissolution of his position. The agency also shuttered its Chicago office.
Creative work didn't rake in awards but did help drive sales for client Heineken.
The agency needs to quash defection rumors and bring stability to its executive suite. Earlier this month, Lowe said Lee Garfinkle, chairman-CEO and chief creative officer, would be leaving the agency.
Before his departure, Mr. Garfinkle shared leadership duties with Gary Goldsmith, who continues alone at the top-though he won't inherit the CEO/U.S. title. That is being dissolved.
Last year's rating: 2.5