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Miller Sues Bates, Zenith Over Media Dispute
NEW YORK–Miller Brewing Co. last week filed a federal lawsuit against Bates USA and Zenith Media, claiming the agencies’ failure to deliver on their buys cost the Milwaukee company more than $6 million. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee, also accuses Bates of “double billing” the company for about $1 million. Miller said that both Bates and Zenith failed to deliver the target audience the brewer paid for when making the TV buys. In December 1996, Miller yanked the media account from Zenith and awarded media buying and planning duties, worth $250 million, to Leo Burnett. Miller is seeking compensation for the losses, plus unspecified damages. “We’ve tried to work with them to get an amicable resolution; they’ve declined to even acknowledge us,” a Miller representative said. “It’s almost mind-boggling to us.” Rich Hamilton, chief executive officer of Zenith, called the lawsuit “utterly ridiculous and without merit.” Bates declined comment.
Egghead.com Reviews Shops
LOS ANGELES–Egghead.com has launched a review for an agency to handle its estimated $10 million account. The Spokane, Wash.-based client is talking to four undisclosed shops nationwide, said John Brodeur, the company’s Portland, Ore.-based chief marketing officer. Egghead, which has closed its chain of retail stores in favor of selling software over the Internet, handles ad duties in-house.
Nasdaq Tabs $30 Mil. for Marketing
NEW YORK–The National Association of Securities Dealers, which oversees the Nasdaq stock market, is expected to spend $30 million in marketing over the next two years, pending its merger with the American Stock Exchange. It is unclear if the deal will affect agency assignments. Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG handles Nasdaq, which spent $25 million in media last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., handles AMEX’s $6-10 million account.
Account Activity
Thrifty Car Rental, Tulsa, Okla., tapped New York consultancy Advertising Agency Register to assist in a $6 million review after incumbent Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City, resigned the account ESC Medical Systems, Needham, Mass., has named five finalists for its estimated $12 million ad account: Gotham, Jordan McGrath Case & Partners, Publicis and Warwick Baker O’Neill all in New York, as well as Quantum Consumer in Parsippany, N.J. McCann-Erickson, New York, has won the estimated $35 million consolidated ad account for First Brands D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and DDB Needham, both New York, are believed to be the remaining shops vying for Ernst & Young’s $15 million account. Two other contenders, Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, have been cut, sources said. The American Automobile Association, Orlando, Fla., has sent questionnaires to 20 agencies with integrated capabilities for a creative project. The AAA does not have a national agency.