The bitter divorce between Mercedes-Benz and the Interpublic Group
is heading for the courts, after IPG issued a writ against the former
account man who ran the dollars 125 million business at its Lowe &
Partners/SMS agency in New York.
Marvin Sloves, the co-chairman of Lowe who retired at the end of last
year, stands accused of using his influence with Mercedes to persuade
the car maker to review its account out of the agency. The business was
this week awarded to Omnicom’s Merkley Newman Harty.
IPG claims that Sloves ’began to assist Daimler-Benz to take its
business away from IPG and place it with an agency with which Sloves has
established a relationship’, according to the lawsuit, quoted in The
Wall Street Journal. Sloves has denied the charges.
US reports say Lowe recognised that Sloves’ influence over the Mercedes
account was dangerously powerful, and that it was reluctant to move him
off the business as he reached retirement age. Sloves was made a
consultant on the account late last year.
Mercedes began the review last month, citing problems with Lowe’s
management and potential account conflicts.