Lowe Founder Frank Lowe Exits as Others Add Duties

NEW YORK After a year as a consultant to the agency he started in 1981, Lowe founder Frank Lowe is severing ties to the operation and assuming the honorary title of chairman emeritus, the agency said last week. Lowe, 63, became a consultant to the IPG shop and its Octagon sports- marketing unit in January, after relinquishing his previous worldwide titles of chairman and CEO. His one-year contract, which pays $250,000 and expires Dec. 31, will not be renewed, and Lowe will no longer have a hand in operations. The agency also said that worldwide chief creative officer Adrian Holmes, 50, has added the title of chairman, and worldwide director of client services Terry Rosenquist, 58, has taken the additional post of vice chairman. Lowe, who sources said had publicly criticized IPG worldwide CEO Jerry Judge in recent months, said in a statement, “I take a great amount of pride in what we have accomplished as an agency and [have] confidence in all the next generation has yet to achieve.”

4 IPG Agencies to Assist Campbell-Ewald on Chevy Ideas

CHICAGO Campbell-Ewald has enlisted help from four fellow IPG shops to develop creative ideas on a January campaign for General Motors’ Chevrolet division, said Bill Ludwig, chief creative officer at the Warren, Mich., agency. Those agencies are Foote, Cone & Belding and Lowe, both in New York; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston; and McCann-Erickson in Troy, Mich., Ludwig said. McCann and Lowe are GM roster shops. C-E handles Chevy’s $800 million account. Chevy wants a campaign that can work for a number of models as the automaker prepares to launch nine products during the next 20 months, a company rep said.

Final Presentations This Week For KFC Shootout

NEW YORK KFC executives will hear final creative presentations tomorrow from Omnicom’s BBDO in New York, the incumbent on the $225 million account, and IPG’s Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago, sources said. The client, a division of Yum! Brands in Louisville, Ky., invited FCB to pitch the business in July. FCB is a Yum! roster shop; its San Francisco and Irvine, Calif., offices handle the Taco Bell business. FCB Chicago chief creative officer Tom O’Keefe is lead creative on Taco Bell and will be leading the pitch with worldwide chief creative Jonathan Harries and CEO Brendan Ryan, sources said. BBDO North America chief creative Ted Sann will lead the pitch with BBDO New York president and CEO Bill Katz. Reps for each shop declined comment.

FCB Seeks Senior Exec After Blamer Says No

NEW YORK Foote, Cone & Belding has revived its search to fill a senior position, sources said. The IPG agency had been close to hiring Grey New York president Steve Blamer, but the deal fell apart after what sources said was a strong counteroffer from Grey CEO and chairman Ed Meyer [Adweek, Sept. 8]. FCB and its parent were said to have no other viable candidates for what sources said was a new position, CEO of North America. The post would put the candidate in line to succeed Brendan Ryan, FCB’s worldwide CEO. An IPG representative could not immediately be reached. A representative for FCB declined comment.

Lincoln Mercury Ads Go After Younger Buyers

NEW YORK Ford’s struggling Lincoln Mercury unit this week breaks a regional image campaign in advance of several important model launches, including the Monterey minivan. A client official said the brand wants to reach younger buyers, particularly for its Mountaineer SUV, whose average buyer is 45. The regional work shifts focus from vehicle footage and special deals to features, third-party endorsements and value. Six TV spots and print ads by WPP’s Young & Rubicam in Irvine, Calif., tout the 2004 Mercury Grand Marquis, Sable and Mountaineer. One ad for the Grand Marquis shows a series of blocks that form a graph as the voiceover says, “It defies logic, boggles the mind and rewrites the laws of economics.” The ad also touts the model’s anti-lock brakes and V8 power. The Mountaineer spot compares the model to more successful cars such as Jeep Grand Cherokee, whose sales dwarf Mountaineer’s, which are up about 8.5 percent this year, according to Ward’s Automotive. Lincoln Mercury spent about $265 million on ads last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.