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Toy Maker Invites JWT to Defend Account

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LOS ANGELES Bandai America has launched a review for its advertising account, sources said.

The incumbent, WPP's J. Walter Thompson in Los Angeles, has been invited to participate, according to sources. The client has also had discussions with Southern California shops including Interpublic Group's McCann-Erickson in Los Angeles and Dailey & Associates in West Hollywood, as well as Dentsu's Colby & Partners in Santa Monica, sources said. Agency officials declined comment.

The Cypress, Calif., client did not return calls seeking comment.

Bandai, manufacturer of toys and games such as the Power Rangers and Gundam lines, spent $21 million on advertising in 2002, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. By September 2003, before the typical Christmas toy-marketing push, it had spent $10 million.

JWT's Chicago office won the Bandai account in 1995. In early 1998, the agency's Los Angeles office took the lead on the business.