HOTLINE

2 Shops Join SBC Media Contenders
DALLAS–Leo Burnett, Chicago, and DDB Needham’s Optimum Media, New York, last week were pegged by sources as new contenders for the combined media buying accounts of SBC Communications’ Southwestern Bell and Pacific Bell. The account, which insiders estimate at $200 million, is likely to be awarded next month. Other previously identified shops still believed to be in contention include GSD&M, Austin, Texas, which handles creative for SBC’s wireless and Yellow Pages business, and TBS Media Management, New York, the incumbent on Pac Bell media. Representatives at all of the agencies either declined comment or referred calls to SBC. SBC representative Larry Solomon declined to comment or confirm agencies. D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, the incumbent on Southwestern Bell media, is not participating.
Richards Among 4 America West Finalists
LOS ANGELES–America West Airlines, Phoenix, narrowed its review to four finalists, according to DeWitt Helm of consultancy Achenbaum Bogda Associates, New York. They are: The Richards Group, Dallas; Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis; Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco; and J. Walter Thompson West, San Francisco. The airline is expected to award the $20 million account by the end of November.
GSD&M Remains in Nicklaus Review
ATLANTA–The list of agencies contending for the estimated $5-6 million Nicklaus Golf Equipment account is down to six. Client director of marketing Andrew York said last week the finalists are: GSD&M, Austin, Texas; BBDO South, Atlanta; Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif.; Leonard/Monahan, Providence, R.I.; Hollywood Cows, Orlando, Fla.; and Venue, Riviera Beach, Fla. The six will meet with Nicklaus officials the first week of November. York said the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company hopes to decide after those presentations but may cut the list again. Media is at Media Horizons in Norwalk, Conn., but agencies may pitch for that part of the account as well.
Thoroughbred Racing Goes to Merkley
ATLANTA–Merkley Newman Harty in New York earned the $12-15 million National Thoroughbred Racing Association account last week, according to Jerry Brown of Brown & Martin Consulting in Atlanta. Merkley defeated three other shops for the business, including The Richards Group in Dallas.
Atkins PR Chief Departs for Client
DALLAS–The Atkins Agency’s vice president of public relations, Mary Rose Brown, has left the San Antonio shop after 14 years to head public relations for Valero Energy, a local Atkins client. Brown’s move will not affect Valero’s relationship with Atkins, according to the company. The Atkins Agency has not yet named a replacement for Brown.