MOORESVILLE, NC: Lowe's Companies has picked GCI Group as its new AOR, ending a three-month search in which it spoke with 12 firms, six of which became finalists for the account.
Chris Ahearn, director of PR, said the home-improvement chain spoke with regional and national agencies but settled on GCI because it needed an agency with a national presence. Ahearn wouldn't comment on the other finalists.
Despite being invited to pitch, former agency Golin Harris opted not to take part in the process, walking away from the Lowe's account after five years.
A source close to the pitch said Edelman, Weber Shandwick, and Fleishman-Hillard were among the finalists. The agencies did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
GCI "demonstrated a passion for the business; we're very confident in their abilities," Ahearn said.
The account will be handled by GCI offices in New York and Atlanta. Diane Silver, an SVP in Atlanta, will head a core team of eight, said Bob Feldman, GCI's president and CEO.
GCI will work on "helping to build the brand and drive expansion," Feldman said.
Competition in the home-improvement arena has intensified recently. The Home Depot has stepped up its marketing efforts, and retail analysts predict the sector is ripe for growth.
Lowe's, which ranks 50th on the Fortune 500, reported net earnings of $522 million for the quarter ending October 29, a 15.5% jump from the same quarter of the previous year.