Hotline

Beers Will Rise to the Top at JWT
NEW YORK–Charlotte Beers is expected to be named to the chairman’s post at J. Walter Thompson, with an agreement due as early as this week. Chris Jones, JWT’s chief executive, will not report to Beers, but to WPP Group chief Martin Sorrell. Beers’ main role would be to attract new clients and talent to the agency [Adweek, Jan. 25]. Beers could not be reached at press time. JWT declined comment.
JWT Readies Merrill Lynch Ads
NEW YORK–J. Walter Thompson this week launches the first print effort in its $70 million global campaign for Merrill Lynch. TV spots, which begin the next week, will get a full airing on the March 21 Academy Awards broadcast on ABC, said sources. Portrait-style ads include one with blues star B.B. King and another where major events of the past decade are seen through the eyes of an angelic young girl. “Human Achievement” is the tagline.
IPG Close to Stake in Internet Company
NEW YORK–The Interpublic Group of Cos. said it is close to buying a significant stake in an Internet company, which could prompt a consolidation of its interactive units into a separate group. In a briefing for industry analysts last week, IPG also said it was restarting a stock buyback plan that was delayed while it pursued three acquisitions at the end of last year. Those deals collapsed, analysts said. One was for a public company worth $1 billion. IPG officials did not return calls.
Zenith to Part with Local Wendy’s Media
NEW YORK–Zenith is expected to resign $15 million in local-market media buying duties for Wendy’s to pursue larger opportunities within the restaurant category, sources said. Wendy’s lead shop, Bates USA, which handles national buying, may be in line for some of those duties, sources said. Zenith declined comment. The client and Bates could not be reached. The remaining 200 markets are handled by local shops.
Account Activity
Sprint, Kansas City, Mo., split its $200 million media buying account, awarding national TV buying duties to McCann-Erickson and national print buying to DeWitt Media, both New York. Planning remains at the lead creative shops, including McCann, which handles consumer ads Five contenders have surfaced for the $10-15 million account of e-commerce retailer Toysmart.com in Waltham, Mass. They are: Arnold Communications; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; and Partners & Simons, all Boston; Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; and Mezzina/Brown in New York, sources said Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, landed Clairol’s $15 million Natural Instincts account, sources said. The Kaplan Thaler Group is favored to win Revitalique, Ultress and Loving Care, sources said. The brands were pulled from WPP Group’s The Intuition Group. Clairol did not return calls Apparel maker Nautica is talking to shops about its in-house account, worth about $8 million.