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P&G Awards $560 Mil. Media Planning Account to SMG

NEW YORK Procter & Gamble has awarded its North American Gillette communications planning assignment to Publicis' Starcom MediaVest Group, after a review that included just one other contender--Aegis' Carat. P&G split Gillette's North American buying duties between SMG's MediaVest and Starcom without a review last month, after it pulled its estimated $800 million global media account from MindShare. Gillette's media spending in the U.S. is estimated to be about $560 million. Overseas media duties have been split among agencies in various markets.



Mediaedge:cia Wins $110 Mil. VF Corp. Buying Account

NEW YORK Apparel marketer VF Corp. has awarded its $110 million buying account to WPP's Mediaedge:cia after a review, sources said. The other finalist was Publicis' Media-Vest. Several agencies, including incumbent Omnicom's OMD, withdrew last month citing workload, but sources said the rigorous RFP form was to blame in each case [Adweek, Oct. 17]. The Greensboro, N.C.-based client has four dozen different clothing lines including Lee and Wrangler Jeans, Nautica and North Face. The client declined comment as did the shops.



TBWA\C\D's Test Scores Earned Them $330 Mil. Visa USA Work

NEW YORK Visa USA awarded its $330 million account to TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif. last week, largely because its work tested better than that offered by 20-year incumbent BBDO in New York, sources said. Testing concluded the day before the San Francisco client made its decision last week. Visa had asked the Omnicom agencies for a campaign that would portray its cards as a self-actualization tool—a way for consumers to pursue, achieve and explore their dreams through such simple things like yoga lessons, said one source. BBDO crafted Visa's 19-year tagline, "It's everywhere you want to be," and had lately been using humor to sell transactional merits such as security, acceptability and exclusivity, sources said. Visa also considered Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, whose work was also tested, sources said. Agencies referred calls to the client, which declined comment.



Martin Sorrell Blasts Aegis On Cusp of Acquisition Deadline

New York WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell lashed out at Aegis Group and Havas during a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona, Spain, just a week before Nov. 25 — the date by which WPP must decide whether it will make an acquisition bid for Aegis. He criticized both agencies for making low-ball bids with guaranteed media-buy rates to win business and described the tactics as "desperate" and "irrational." Sorrell said the tactics helped them beat WPP in recent contests, including reviews for Groupe Danone and Abby National. An Aegis source replied, "what an extraordinary case of the pot calling the kettle black."



News Roundup

The three New York finalists for Goodyear's $40 million creative review visited the client in Akron, Ohio, last week for work sessions, sources said. Havas' Euro RSCG met with the client on Monday followed by IPG's McCann Erickson on Tuesday and Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi on Wednesday. Final pitches are slated for mid-December. Havas' Arnold in Boston is not defending. ...Concepts and work from the three agencies vying for the estimated $40 million Heineken Premium Light account will go into test next week. Publicis in New York, which handles the $75 million U.S. flagship brand and Amstel Light work, made its final pitch two weeks ago, along with competitors WPP's Berlin Cameron United in New York and Publicis' Fallon in Minneapolis. A decision is due in December. ... Axa Equitable has selected three New York shops to compete for its estimated $10-12 million creative account. They are Publicis as well as Omnicom's Merkley + Partners and Doremus, a client rep said. Briefings take place this week and final pitches are scheduled for late December or early January. ... WPP's Y&R in San Francisco last week won Advanced Micro Devices' $20 million account. The incumbent, IPG's McCann Erickson in San Francisco, resigned the account to pursue Intel. Y&R will handle creative chores, while siblings Mediaedge:cia in San Francisco and SicolaMartin in Austin, Texas, will handle media and integrated marketing duties, respectively.