DuPont conducts online auction as part of full-service agency review

Wilmington, DE: At least two PR firms are playing a role in the unusual full-service agency review currently underway at chemical company DuPont.

Wilmington, DE: At least two PR firms are playing a role in the unusual full-service agency review currently underway at chemical company DuPont.

Weber Shandwick is working with sister ad agency McCann-Erickson, while DuPont incumbent Rowland Communications will handle the PR aspect of Saatchi & Saatchi's pitch, say sources familiar with the situation. It is unclear what PR firms may have been tapped by other finalists, which include Foote, Cone & Belding, Ogilvy & Mather, and Young & Rubicam.

The review is said to include several marketing areas, though ad agencies head the pitches.

The DuPont pitch has captured significant attention due to the unusually high-profile role the company's procurement apparatus appears to be playing.

The agency finalists were asked to participate in a competitive online auction where the marketers bid on the DuPont business in a process that seemed to bring a touch of eBay to Madison Avenue's elites.

The review was expected to be finished in late April, with the results announced soon after.

Those close to the process say it was unusual, and it highlighted the specter that large multinational corporations are viewing creative marketing services agencies as a commodity business, where there is only a slight distinction between firms.

Julia Saia, DuPont communications manager, insisted that despite the auction mechanism, "price was just one of several factors" that will play a role in the company's decision.

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