A H&R Block Hires SRI for $100 Mil. Review
CHICAGO–H&R Block has hired Select Resources International to handle a review for its $100 million global ad account. The Kansas City, Mo.-based client has invited incumbent shop Young & Rubicam, Chicago, to participate. The agency has not yet decided whether to defend. The client expects to complete its review by June.
A Focus Media Assets Stay on Ice
CHICAGO–A California Superior Court on Thursday continued Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s temporary restraining order freezing Focus Media’s assets, a company official said. The court took the matter under advisement and will rule whether to turn the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction locking up Focus’ assets until their lawsuits are resolved, the official said. The Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer fired the Santa Monica, Calif., media company on March 13 and filed a breach of contract suit claiming Focus kept money intended for media outlays. In a counterclaim, Focus accused Sears of trying to put it out of business and derailing a potential merger with a larger media company, identified by sources as Initiative Media.
A Zenith Media Forges Alliance in Japan
NEW YORK–Zenith Media Worldwide has struck an alliance with Japanese agency Yomiko Advertising. Zenith will establish a media planning unit within Yomiko, with an eye toward expanding to include buying. The non-equity deal formalizes a relationship between Zenith and Yomiko that dates back four years, said John Perriss, Zenith’s worldwide CEO. “We’re very excited about it because it puts the Zenith flag on the map in Tokyo,” [where Yomiko is based], Perriss said. Yomiko claims billings of just under $1 billion from clients such as Mitsubishi and Suntory. Separately, Perriss is eyeing seven outside candidates in his search for a new CEO for Asia, a post that Antony Young is leaving this month.
A McCann’s Heekin Takes on WorldGroup
NEW YORK–Jim Heekin, who succeeded John Dooner as president and CEO of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, has also taken on Dooner’s former titles of chairman and CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, the global marketing communications organization. “We’ve made great strides in the creative product in the last six years,” Heekin said. “But I would like our reel to stand out clearly above and beyond our major global competitors.” Dooner was recently appointed COO of McCann’s parent, The Interpublic Group of Cos.
A Young & Rubicam Inc. Invests in Naviant
NEW YORK–Young & Rubicam Inc. plans to invest up to $20 million in Naviant, a Web-based company that connects marketers with consumers. The deal involves about $15 million in cash and $5 million in stock. Y&R units Impiric and The Media Edge will work closely with the Newtown Square, Pa., company.
A Optimedia Launches Interactive Company
NEW YORK–Optimedia, the media arm of Publicis, has launched Interactive@Optimedia, an agency that will begin handling media duties for the ad network’s 40 clients. The new company will provide consulting, strategic planning and implementation to enable both bricks-and-mortar clients and companies to communicate one-to-one with their customers using the Internet.
A Former Art Director Bob Gage Dies
NEW YORK–Bob Gage, whose innovative use of type and photography in print ads during the 1950s and 1960s made him one of the first advertising art directors inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame, died April 4 at 78. One of the original 13 employees when Doyle Dane Bernbach (now DDB Worldwide) opened its doors in June 1949, Gage was the shop’s lead art director whose award-winning print work included Orbach’s and Levy’s. A member of the Directors Guild of America, Gage applied more of his innovations to TV commercials in the 1970s with award-winning campaigns such as “Mikey” for Life cereal and Cracker Jack commercials featuring character actor Jack Gilford. Gage retired from advertising in 1992.
A Newswire Roundup
FCB Worldwide has been awarded the estimated $30 million global corporate account for Boeing Corp. McCann-Erickson Worldwide had handled the account The Kemper Insurance Cos. this week will visit eight Midwest shops contending for its $10-12 million ad account. The Long Grove, Ill.-based client is looking for a full-service agency. Incumbent Kemper Lesnik Communications withdrew in the preliminary stages. Chicago consultant Jones-Lundin Associates is handling . Indian Motorcycle, Gilroy, Calif., tapped Toth Brand Imaging, Concord, Mass., and New York, for a $10 million brand campaign themed, “The legend lives.” StorageNetworks tapped Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos to handle its $15 million ad account The Atlanta Hawks are looking for a hometown shop to handle $2 million in creative and media planning chores. Wanamaker is handling. No Nonsense confirmed it has named McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., creative agency for its $9 million account [Adweek, March 10]. BuyerZone.Com, Cambridge, Mass., awarded its $5-7 million account to Gearon Hoffman, Boston.
A For the Record
The media agency for DirecTV was misidentified [Adweek, April 3, page 8]. GM Mediaworks, Detroit, retains media buying duties. O. Burtch Drake is president, CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies; not chairman [Adweek, March 20].