Three Philly firms vie for Sunoco's half-mil

PHILADELPHIA: Oil giant Sunoco has put its dollars 500,000+ PR account up for review, and two local agencies are battling the biggest firm in the city for the business.

PHILADELPHIA: Oil giant Sunoco has put its dollars 500,000+ PR account up for review, and two local agencies are battling the biggest firm in the city for the business.

The review is turning into a battle between two Davids ? incumbent Weightman Public Relations (part of The Weightman Group) and The Brownstein Group ? versus a local Goliath, the True North-owned Tierney Group. The account also includes advertising, and word on the street is that combined billings will range between dollars 5 and dollars 10 million.

Sunoco spokesman Jerry Davis confirmed the three finalists, but declined to give a timetable for selecting the victor. A source close to the review said the three firms have made their final pitches, and a decision is expected 'in the next week or two.' The source added that the account is primarily advertising, but approximately 10% of the budget will be devoted to PR.

Tierney Group president and CEO Brian Tierney said his company has handled crisis communications for Sunoco for the past six years. He added, however, that he didn't think Tierney's size gave it any significant advantage over the other two firms, except in the area of media planning and buying.

Weightman PR account director Jen Corey declined to comment on the review, but said the firm has handled Sunoco since 1995. Calls to The Brownstein Group were not returned by press time.

Based in Philadelphia, Sunoco is one of the nation's largest independent petroleum refiner-marketers.

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