By Joan Voight
SAN FRANCISCO--McCann-Erickson lost its grip on Sega of America's $10-15 million media account this winter as the video game company grappled with a reorganization and declining budgets, sources said. At the same time Sega started a review of agencies for its creative ad account.
When the three-month creative review ended last week, Foote, Cone & Belding's San Francisco office placed in the winner's circle for Sega's entire integrated marketing account, including creative and media duties. McCann's San Francisco office, one of the finalists for the creative account, was left empty-handed.
When the review began in February, Sega, reeling from stiff competition, cut its staff 15 percent and consolidated the marketing department, said a Sega representative. The company named Lydia Gable its group director of marketing and she assumed a key role in hiring the new agency.
As a result of the cutbacks, the client found it needed to consolidate advertising and marketing duties so that the account would be large enough to attract the kind of agencies that Sega wanted, said sources.
A Sega representative declined to elaborate on the review process. McCann executives also declined comment.
'When Sega originally asked us to pitch the creative-only account, we refused,' said Jack Boland, FCB chief executive officer. Later, Bernard Stolar, Sega's chief operating officer, convinced FCB executives to compete for the entire consolidated account.
FCB's pitch 'presented a fully integrated effort: advertising, Web projects, design work, direct marketing and more,' Boland said. 'We addressed not just Sega's creative needs, but their business proposition.'
Sega is expected to trim ad spending from 1996's $20-25 million to less than $15 million in 1997, sources said. This year's ad budget is not finalized, a Sega spokesman said. The review was led by Select Resources International in Los Angeles. Other finalists were Young
& Rubicam's San Francisco office, The Leap Partnership in Santa Monica, Calif., and Fattal & Collins in Marina del Rey, Calif.
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