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Incumbent Lowe Loses $100 Million TV Business

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NEW YORK ( -- Interpublic Group of Cos. is shifting UPS's estimated $100 million national broadcast media-buying account from Lowe, New York, to sibling the Martin Agency, which already has a large chunk of the shipper's ad and media business.

The UPS account was by far Lowe's media services group's biggest piece of buying business, and its departure raises some questions about the fate of the struggling agency's media department.

Committed to media services
"Lowe remains committed to its media services offering and we are currently evaluating several options for enhancing the department," a Lowe spokeswoman, Hollie Geren, said. "We will announce our plans in the near future."

The department still handles some national media buying for Mass Mutual and Gorton's and does media planning and spot buying for Perdue, Mass Mutual and its milk clients.

Lowe's director of media services, Elissa Goldman, is also moving to the Richmond, Va.-based agency, along with the account she oversaw. She'll remain at Lowe until June, Ms. Geren said.

Ms. Geren said the agency will announce Ms. Goldman's replacement in the "near future."

Interpublic reorganization
The spokeswoman declined to comment whether those plans will be contingent on the reorganization Interpublic is considering for its media agencies. One option being considering is having both media networks, Initiative and Universal McCann, report into a single entity.

The move marks the second large move of a media account within Interpublic agencies this year. Recently, Bank of America's $200 million buying and planning business shifted from Deutsch to Initiative.

UPS said the move is a good one. "Interpublic made the decision and it works out well for us," UPS spokesman Steve Holmes said. "It streamlines account coordination."

Martin's growing relationship
Martin Agency has worked on UPS since June 2000, when it began handling advertising for UPS's Nascar sponsorship, Mr. Holmes said. Now Martin creates brand advertising and all of UPS's media planning and buying in the U.S. Interpublic's McCann WorldGroup handles international creative and media buying duties.

A Martin Agency representative referred calls to Lowe.

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