NEW YORK - TBWA Chiat/Day is considering a return to the San Francisco area with a full-service office early next year. The move would strengthen its position in the review for Levi Strauss & Co.'s Levi's account and tap into the burgeoning ad market there, sources said.
The move comes as Levi is scheduled to meet with the Venice, Calif., shop and other agencies this week.
Bob Kuperman, president and chief executive of TBWA Chiat/Day North America, declined comment. Sources said, however, the move is part of a restructuring of North American operations, which included the closing of the TBWA Chiat/Day office in St. Louis last week. San Francisco would be the fourth full-service TBWA C/D office in North America, along with New York, Venice and Toronto.
The agency would likely reconfigure sister Omnicom shop Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco, into a TBWA C/D operation and augment it with new staff, said sources. TBWA C/D's existing outpost in San Francisco, which handles Nissan, would also likely be incorporated.
The former Chiat/Day ran a full-service San Francisco office from 1980-90 but sold it to the management team which reorganized it into the current Goldberg Moser O'Neill.
Separately, the other shops proceeding in the pitch for the $90 million Levi's account are: incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco; Levi's international agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London; Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco; Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York and San Francisco; BBDO, Los Angeles and New York; and DDB Needham, pitching via its New York and Chicago offices but offering to service the business out of San Francisco. It is likely that the agency which wins the business will need to establish a presence in the Bay Area. Sources at BBDO indicated it would return there if it were to prevail in the Levi's review.
FCB has brought worldwide creative director Geoff Thompson from Chicago to San Francisco "indefinitely" to lead its defense, said sources. The office's executive creative director, Paul Wolfe, is now working on "special assignment" at FCB in New York, said Jack Boland, president of FCB San Francisco. --with staff reports