Hotline

Hardwick to Oversee BofA at IPG

NEW YORK—Bozell senior partner Steve Hardwick, 40, the top account executive on the Bank of America business, last week assumed the newly created post of managing director of BofA within the Interpublic Group. He will coordinate efforts among sibling shops handling the brand. He reports to IPG evp, chief marketing officer Bruce Nelson. Last week, BofA said most of its marketing business would shift to IPG, following its successful defense of BofA’s $170 million consumer- and affluent-market account.

Decision Due in $80 Mil. Diovan Review

NEW YORK—Four agencies await a decision in Novartis’ estimated $80 million Diovan review, following final presentations last week, sources said. They are the New York offices of IPG’s Deutsch, Grey Global Group’s Grey and Omnicom Group’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, along with Havas’ Arnold in Boston. Each agency partnered with a shop that specializes in doctor-directed advertising.

Harty, Lowe Still in Talks

NEW YORK—Steve Harty, the former president of Omnicom’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners in New York, is still talking to Lowe about running a new entity designed to strengthen ties between the agency and its marketing-services partners, sources said. The entity would encompass Lowe and sister IPG shops DraftWorldwide, Initiative Media North America and Zipatoni, among others. Lowe has made Harty an offer, but Harty has yet to sign a contract, said sources. Harty and Lowe U.S. CEO Paul Hammersley declined comment.

$25-30 Mil. Mystery Review Causes Confusion

CHICAGO—SPOTLink in Jersey City, N.J., has sent out requests for proposals to media agencies on behalf of an anonymous national client with $25-30 million in billings, sources said. The RFP seeks information about the agencies by Nov. 7 and says a decision is due by Jan. 27. Several media agencies attempted to contact SPOTLink but could not track down the consultancy or the executive named in the RFP, Michael Garcell. Because of that, at least two agencies have declined to respond, sources said.

Agilent Postpones Agency Search

SAN FRANCISCO—Agilent Technologies, which began an agency search this summer, has delayed its review until the middle of this month, sources said. Agencies were recently told that the review would not move forward until mid-November, but were not given an explanation, according to sources. The client has yet to trim its list to finalists, although sources said numerous San Francisco shops received RFPs. Agilent in Palo Alto, Calif., spent about $40 million on ads in 2001, according to CMR.

Account Activity

Novartis’ Ciba Vision has awarded global creative duties for its contact-lens and lens-care products to Grey, following a review that included other, undisclosed shops. … Four agencies are left in Supercuts’ $10-15 million creative review: Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York; The Richards Group in Dallas; Venables, Bell & Partners in San Francisco; and Omnicom’s Element 79 in Chicago, sources said. Final pitches will be in mid-November.