True North and CCG Talks Under Way

CHICAGO—Talks are ongoing between True North Communications and Cordiant Communications Group, with a deal possible as soon as this month, according to sources. London-based CCG has been in acquisition talks with Chicago-based TN since before the holidays [Adweek, Dec. 18]. Representatives of the two holding companies could not be reached for comment.

Y&R Eliminated From Ericsson Review

NEW YORK—Ericsson has cut incumbent Young & Rubicam from its $100 million global consumer-products review, sources said. Three other agencies pitched the Ericsson business: TBWA Worldwide, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and the Bcom3 team of Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Leo Burnett, according to sources. It was unclear at press time which shops remain in contention.

Merck, Schering Name DDB, Grey

NEW YORK—Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough have shortened the list of agencies they are considering to handle a new cholesterol drug—an account with billings estimated at $50-70 million, sources said. Four New York shops pitched the business last month: DDB, Grey Worldwide, Young & Rubicam and Robert A. Becker/Euro RSCG, after the client launched a review [Adweek, Nov. 13]. Still in the running are DDB and Grey, sources said. The agencies declined comment, and the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck could not be reached.

U.S. Treasury to Seek Shops

NEW YORK—The U.S. Department of the Treasury is set to solicit agencies to handle ad and public relations duties on two properties: U.S. Savings Bonds and Treasury-Direct. Billings are $33 million, but the figure is spread over five years, a client representative said. The questionnaire soon will be available via the government’s Web site, The process is being steered by the department’s Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg, W.Va.

KFC Moves $170 Mil. to BBDO

NEW YORK—KFC has dismissed Young & Rubicam—its lead agency since 1976—and shifted the creative portion of its $170 million account to BBDO Worldwide, which already handles sister Tricon brand Pizza Hut. Media duties remain at The Media Edge here. Last summer, KFC contacted agencies about its ad account, but kept the business with Y&R [Adweek, July 3]. BBDO was named “interim” agency, much like FCB Worldwide, following Taco Bell’s dismissal of TBWA\ Chiat\Day earlier last year.

McCann Wins Deloitte Business

NEW YORK—McCann-Erickson has won media and creative duties on the estimated $20-30 million global ac-count of Deloitte Consulting, sources said last week. The New York shop bested finalists Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York, and The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., in a review managed by Achenbaum Bodga Associates in New York.

Merkley Lands Pfizer’s $70 Mil. Lipitor

NEW YORK—Pfizer has selected Merkley Newman Harty to handle creative duties on Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug previously handled by Bates Worldwide. Billings are estimated at $70 million. In its third Pfizer pitch in 17 months, Merkley beat Pfizer shops Cline, Davis & Mann and Gotham, as well as Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG. The three-month review was managed by New York consultancy ADvice & ADvisors. Media duties remain at Carat USA here.

Y&R Retains MetLife Account

NEW YORK—Young & Rubicam has beaten back challenges from two New York shops to retain creative and media duties on Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., an ac-count estimated at $50 million. Also pitching were TBWA\ Chiat\Day and FCB Worldwide, sources said. Another contender, New York shop Wieden + Kennedy, withdrew before final presentations, according to sources. In awarding the business, client executives cited the depth and breadth of Y&R’s pitch. Longtime brand icon, Snoopy, is expected to remain in the marketing mix. Media duties are handled by Y&R’s The Media Edge.

Milk-Mustache Ads Provoke Controversy

NEW YORK—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has asked the U.S. government to investigate what it says are false health claims in the new Elton John and Carson Daly milk-mustache ads. PCRM has filed an amendment to a complaint under investigation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture that charges ads in the celebrity milk-mustache campaign created by Bozell, New York, for Dairy Management and the Milk Processor Education Program violate Food and Drug Administration regulations on misleading advertising. According to PCRM president Dr. Neal Barnard, the Elton John ad falsely claims that milk prevents osteoporosis, while the Carson Daly ad unnecessarily implies that children need milk to grow. Sal Taibi, a senior partner at Bozell and group account director on the campaign, said, “All of the claims in our [milk] ads are substantiated and supported by top medical groups. All of the ads are reviewed by our attorneys and meet FDA and FTC guidelines.”

Coke Postpones Football-Themed Ads

NEW YORK—Coca-Cola has changed the rotation of its TV advertising for first-quarter 2001 by delaying the broadcast of several football-themed spots from Cliff Freeman and Partners until August and September. The spots were originally scheduled to run throughout this month [Adweek, Dec. 11]. Instead, the Atlanta-based beverage giant will introduce a new teen-targeted spot this month from the New York agency and begin rotating two other commercials directed at teens that broke last September into January and February media buys, said Darryl Cobbin, vp of consumer communications for Coke North America. He said the decision to postpone the football-themed spots came two weeks ago, after he viewed six rough cuts from the Los Angeles-based directing team Traktor. Cobbin said the work was strong enough to run as a full campaign at the start of the 2001 National Football League season. He confirmed that the spots take the form of an instructional film, with themes such as how to watch games and how to throw a football party [Adweek, Dec. 11].

Revlon Meets With Agencies

NEW YORK—Revlon has met with a select group of agencies about handling its $100 million-plus ad account, sources said. Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, the New York shop that recently won the account of Revlon’s new Skinlights brand, McKinney & Silver of Raleigh, N.C., and TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York met with client executives last month, sources said. Ogilvy & Mather and Deutsch, both in New York, were also contacted, but it was unclear if they have met with the client.

Philips Splits $550 Mil. in Ad Duties

NEW YORK—Two agencies have landed global advertising accounts from Dutch company Philips Electronics, which is parting ways with Euro RSCG Worldwide. DDB Worldwide has been assigned ad duties for the consumer electronics, semiconductor and corporate accounts, which have estimated billings of more than $300 million. Roster shop D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles picked up the lighting and medical systems accounts, with combined billings nearing $250 million. D’Arcy continues to handle the domestic-appliances and personal care accounts under Philips’ Norelco division. The relationship with Euro RSCG Worldwide, whose Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York created Philips’ award-winning “Getting Better” campaign, ends June 20.

Carmichael Takes Home Ikea

CHICAGO—Carmichael Lynch won Ikea’s $40-50 million U.S and Canadian advertising account. The Minneapolis shop bested Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet-terer/Euro RSCG, New York, and The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., in a review run by Pile and Co. in Boston. The incumbent is Deutsch in New York.

Petsmart Cuts Media Review to 4

LOS ANGELES—Petsmart has trimmed the list of contenders for its $20-25 million media account. Those be-ing considered include CIA Medianetwork, The Media Edge and Creative Media, all in New York, and Doner in Southfield, Mich., which recently won the Phoenix-based pet-supply superstore chain’s creative review.

4 Shops Make Finals in Mini Review

NEW YORK—Four agencies have made it to the final round in the review for the estimated $40 million ad ac-count of the Mini, BMW’s revival of the classic British subcompact car. Contenders are Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami, New York shops Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners, and Suissa Miller in Santa Monica, Calif. Shops cut in the semifinal round were Citron Haligman Bedecarré in San Francisco, DiMassimo Brand Advertising in New York, The Richards Group in Dallas and WongDoody in Los Angeles. Plans call for the contenders to meet with the Mini marketing team in early February. A decision is expected by the end of that month.

Business Week Trims to 3

NEW YORK—Business Week narrowed the list of agencies competing for its $10 million account to three finalists—Ground Zero, Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners and DCA Advertising. During the past two months, Business Week considered nine New York shops, including incumbent DraftWorldwide. Keith Fox, the client’s svp, marketing and business development, said the selection of the finalists was based on “how they approached the consumer, and their creative strategy.” The client expects to reach a decision by the end of this month. Morgan Anderson Consulting in New York is conducting the review.

Newswire Roundup

Rational Software named Mullen for creative chores on its $15-20 million account. The Wenham, Mass., shop bested CGN Marketing & Creative Services in Boston and Doremus in New York in the final round of a review. Rational had split with creative incumbent Allen & Gerritsen in Watertown, Mass. Carat Freeman in Newton, Mass., retains Rational’s media duties. … San Francisco shop Amazon Advertising has been tapped for a branding assignment by Jamba Juice after a review that included other San Francisco agencies. The San Francisco-based client, which has 350 stores in 20 states, hired former Burger King president Paul Clayton as its CEO last year. … Long Haymes Carr, Winston-Salem, N.C., has won Midway Airlines’ estimated $5 million ad account following a review that in-cluded Trone Advertising in High Point, N.C., and other undisclosed agencies. Loeffler Ketchum Mountjoy in Charlotte, N.C., which handled the airline’s ad and marketing duties, resigned the business in November. … Polaroid Corp., following a review, chose DVC Group to handle its estimated $20 million promotional account. DVC in Morristown, N.J., succeeds Chicago’s Communicator on the business. Leo Burnett Northstar in Chicago and TL Partnership in Wilton, Conn., were finalists.