Subaru Exec: I’ve Met with Agencies That ‘Stayed in Contact’

NEW YORK Subaru vp of marketing Rick Crosson acknowledged Friday that he met with agencies other than lead shop DDB as recently as last month but downplayed the meetings, saying that a few shops “stayed in contact with us and had a couple of ideas they wanted to present.” Sources identified the shops as IPG’s The Martin Agency, a finalist in Subaru’s 2004 review, and IPG’s TM Advertising, DDB’s predecessor on the estimated $200 million account. The shops declined comment. Crosson described the meetings, which took place in November and December, as “not a big deal” and reaffirmed DDB’s status as lead agency: “They’re our agency. We’re not doing an account review.” Crosson said he was not talking to search consultants; when asked earlier if Subaru had contacted consultants, a client representative said: “There’s nothing we can say publicly.” Omnicom’s DDB, meanwhile, is seeking a new account chief on the business to succeed Jack Wheaton, who is expected to shift to other accounts, said sources. Reached late Friday afternoon, DDB New York chairman Lee Garfinkel said, “I’m totally confident about our relationship with Subaru.”

Ex-Scali Exec Green Consults At Omnicom’s Merkley

NEW YORK Keith Green, a former evp at Scali, McCabe, Sloves who left the industry 15 years ago, has resurfaced as a part-time consultant to Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners, the New York agency confirmed. Green, a controversial exec who clashed with other top management at Scali, is offering advice and counsel on how to market the agency, said Merkley CEO Alex Gellert. Green could not be reached, but Gellert said: “Whether you like Keith or not, everyone says Keith is smart.”

More Partners to Join Frank Lowe’s Shop This Week

NEW YORK More “equal partners” are expected to sign on to Frank Lowe’s new agency this week, following talks with DDB London chief strategic officer David Hackworthy, JWT London managing director Mark Cadman and Lowe London ecd Ed Morris, sources said. All three are inclined to join the London shop, according to sources. Meanwhile, the new agency is said to have a multiple-word name that does not include “Lowe.” The principals, however, are still researching to see if the working moniker is not already registered to another company. The agency has leased office space in London’s Soho district as it prepares to take on Tesco, its maiden client, which is shifting its estimated $80 million creative account from IPG’s Lowe on March 1.

Santisi Tapped as First CFO For Interpublic Media

NEW YORK Interpublic Media has hired Terri Santisi as its first chief financial officer. Santisi is a 20-year entertainment industry financial executive who most recently led the media and entertainment practice of accounting firm KPMG. Santisi will lead all financial operations for the group, which oversees Initiative, Universal McCann, Magna Global and other specialist media shops within IPG. She reports to IPG Media CEO Mark Rosenthal and IPG CFO Frank Mergenthaler.News Roundup

R/GA has lost its Intel assignment for U.S. Web site development, sources said. It is believed the business moved to McCann Worldgroup’s MRM. An Intel rep would not confirm. … Goodyear executives will hear another round of presentations from IPG’s McCann Erickson and Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi, both New York, the week of Jan. 23, sources said, for its $40 million creative account. … Questionnaires are due back Wednesday for Panasonic’s $60 million creative and media review, sources said. About 15 shops were contacted. … Final presentations begin this week for ExxonMobil’s $30-40 million corporate ad account, sources said. … Burger King said it would buy a spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in 11 years. The company said it purchased one 60-second spot that will be produced by its lead creative agency, MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Meanwhile, a Chrysler representative returned calls late Friday to say the company had not finalized its Super Bowl plans in response to reports from sources earlier in the week that the carmaker had completed a deal to buy time in the game (see story, page 19).