News Wire

Midas Evaluating Media Chores
CHICAGO–Midas International is contacting agencies here about the media buying portion of its $25 million account, sources said. Foote, Cone & Belding here was awarded creative and national media in August. TN Media has handled Midas’ network TV buying, while the company works with its 12 regional agencies on local market media planning and buying. How those duties would be affected could not be determined. A Midas representative declined comment.

Lone Star Contacts More Shops
NEW YORK–Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Wichita, Kan., has reopened its review after hearing presentations from a number of agencies, sources said. Fallon McElligott and DeVito/Verdi, both New York, have emerged as new contenders for the account, estimated at $15-20 million. Earle Palmer Brown, New York, an earlier contender, is still involved. Previous contenders J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, and McCann-Erickson, Seattle, have withdrawn from the review. The status of Bozell Worldwide, Costa Mesa, Calif., a previous contender, could not be determined.

Einson Freeman, Javelin Form Joint Venture
CHICAGO–Einson Freeman, a WPP Group-owned promotional agency in Paramus, N.J., and Javelin, a 3-month-old St. Louis entertainment and event marketing company, have formed a joint venture, Einson Freeman/Javelin. The venture–which will be headquartered in St. Louis and open a Los Angeles office–will design and execute events for clients of Einson Freeman and other WPP-owned agencies.

McCann Breaks Its First Gateway Spot
NEW YORK–McCann-Erickson Worldwide broke its first work for North Sioux City, S.D.-based Gateway last week, less than a month after winning the estimated $50-70 million account. The tagline is: “Let’s talk about your Gateway.” The client’s name was also changed from Gateway 2000 and a new logo was introduced.

Wolf Changes Meldrum Management
CHICAGO–Wolf Group in Toronto could announce a letter of intent to acquire an agency in New York as early as this week, said Bob Barocci, Wolf’s chief operating officer. Separately, Wolf last week said Chris Perry is retiring as chief executive officer and creative director of Meldrum & Fewsmith Communications, a Cleveland shop that it bought last year. Jerry Preyss, one-time president of W.B. Doner & Co.’s Cleveland office, was named to the vacant post of president of the newly renamed Wolf Meldrum & Fewsmith.

Tatham Takes Redenbacher Account
CHICAGO–Euro RSCG Tatham here was awarded the estimated $25 million account of Fullerton, Calif.-based Hunt-Wesson’s Orville Redenbacher, Swiss Miss and Snack Pack brands. Other finalists were TBWA Chiat/Day (which acquired incumbent Ketchum Advertising) and Young & Rubicam, both in San Francisco, and Team One in El Segundo, Calif.

Doner Expands Blockbuster Role
DETROIT–Two new 30-second TV spots for Blockbuster Video that broke last week in 25 markets were created by W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich. That shop was added to Blockbuster’s agency roster in January to handle a summer promotion, but will take on some mainstream advertising as well. The spots use the tagline, “Go home happy,” created by Young & Rubicam, New York, which continues as Dallas-based Blockbuster’s national agency of record. The promotion Doner is developing has been pushed back to early 1999.

2 Shops Dominate AWNY Awards
NEW YORK–Two agencies walked away big winners last week at the 13th annual “Best of New York” American Advertising Awards, sponsored by the Advertising Women of New York. Lowe & Partners, New York, took home 14 awards, and Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, raked in 11. BBDO, New York, won the coveted Best of Show–Broadcast TV award for its recent HBO work. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch was the master of ceremonies. The chief judge was Kevin O’Neill, president and chief creative officer of Warwick Baker O’Neill, New York.

Omnicom Posts First Quarter Results
NEW YORK–Omnicom Group last week reported a 27 percent increase in net income for the first quarter of 1998 to $50.9 million from $40.1 million a year earlier. Worldwide revenues from commissions and fees increased 24 percent to $861 million in first quarter 1998, compared with $696.6 million during the same period last year.

Newswire Roundup
Hampel/Stefanides,New York, has been awarded the estimated $3-4 million account of CyberShop International, based in East Rutherford, N.J., the upscale online retailer positioned as “purveyors of convenience and other fine goods.” The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., last week was named agency for PageNet, which offers wireless paging and information services. The account had been at J. Walter Thompson, Chicago. The client spent $5.5 million last year, per Competitive Media Reporting .James V. Ficco III, who stepped down as president of Ketchum Advertising in Pittsburgh last fall after a recurrence of leukemia, died last week. He was 43. Ficco joined Ketchum in 1981. He was first diagnosed with leukemia in 1996 Hill, Holliday Direct, Boston, has surfaced as a third contender for Staples’ direct marketing account, sources said. Arnold Direct and Ingalls One to One Marketing, both in Boston, are also in the hunt, sources said. Billings were not disclosed.