– Focus Media Fallout Continues
LOS ANGELES–Sources expect Univision to be the next to sue Focus Media over unpaid bills. The Spanish-language TV network is or will soon be “in litigation with [Santa Monica, Calif.-based Focus] for network, spot and [Univision flagship station, here] KMEX-TV [media buys],” said a source. Several million dollars are owed to the network alone.” Univision buys placed by Focus were among the examples Sears, Roebuck and Co. lawyers used in successfully arguing their case for a continued freeze on Sears’ assets in California Superior Court last week. Separately, Focus is said to have shut down its Hoffman Estates, Ill., office, which serviced Sears.
– U.S. Army Cuts to 3 in $115 Mil. Biz
WASHINGTON, D.C.–The U.S. Army has narrowed the list of contenders for its $115 million advertising contract to three shops, sources said. Arnold Communications, Boston; DDB, Chicago; and McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather, both New York, were cut. The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.; and Leo Burnett, Chicago, advanced. The finalists will attend briefings here this week, when they will receive RFPs. Final presentations are scheduled for May 3-5. Army ad program manager Maj. Ward Wood and search consultant Jones-Lundin Associates, Chicago, declined comment.
– Compaq Asks Shops to ‘Retool’ Ideas
NEW YORK–Compaq Computer has asked at least two of the four agencies pitching its $300 million global account to go back and “retool their ideas,” sources said. It is believed that the client is looking closely at FCB Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi, which handles Hewlett-Packard and has denied any involvement in the process. Sources said Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts led his agency’s pitch at the Houston-based client. Incumbent DDB Worldwide and Grey Advertising also pitched.
– Roth Departs Initiative’s Diversified Services Unit
LOS ANGELES–Dan Roth, president of Initiative Media North America’s Diversified Services Group, is leaving the agency to pursue opportunities in new media. Diversified Services includes Yellow Pages, Motivational Incentives Group, Promotion House, PBS and Casablanca Productions. Roth, 54, joined what was then Western International Media in 1996 and was a key player in Western’s acquisition of online ad agency Zentropy in 1998.
– Account Activity
Four shops last week pitched for Bacardi USA’s new brand, Dewar’s Special Reserve, sources said. Avrett Free Ginsberg, which handles the $20 million Dewar’s White Label, pitched, as did DiMassimo Brand Advertising and Berlin Cameron & Partners, both New York. McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., which has DiSaronno, also pitched. The account is estimated at $10 million. Optimedia International handles media planning and buying duties for all Bacardi brands in the U.S. … Handspring is talking to shops about handling advertising for its estimated $10 million account for the Visor, a handheld computer that is the company’s answer to the Palm Pilot, a client source confirmed. The client recently parted ways with Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif. (Continued on page 88)
– Focus Media Fallout Continues