LOS ANGELES - Twentieth Century Fox trimmed two media buying firms from its list of agency contenders last week, a sign that the studio may be leaning toward a full-service ad agency to bring it marketing expertise along with media and advertising know-how.
The first-round elimination, which followed a questionnaire phase, leaves incumbent Young & Rubicam/L.A. and N.Y., Bohbot Communications/N.Y. and Rubin Postaer & Associates/L.A. in the competition, along with BBDO Los Angeles; Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; and Wells Rich Greene BDDP/L.A. Wells, BBDO and C/D each brought in Hollywood insiders who may be better equipped to address the changing needs at the studios.
Though the agencies and consultants declined comment, BBDO is believed to have hired Rick Markowitz, who headed the Fox business for J. Walter Thompson/L.A. when that agency handled the account. Chiat/Day hired Kim Belcher, who worked in Fox's advertising department. WRG is working informally with Rusty Citron, a studio consultant.
'The studio business has gone from advertising to a more interdisciplinary marketing medium, including traditional media buying, promotions, etc.,' said one source familiar with the review. 'What's happening increasingly is that when accounts come up for review, agencies have to show depth not only in their ability to buy against the demo, but in the ability to market against the demo. That puts agencies in a situation they're not used to being in.'
Last year, for example, McCann-Erickson formed a special task force to brainstorm on marketing ideas with client Columbia/TriStar, when that agency/client relationship was reportedly at a rough point.
The L.A. offices of buying firms ICG and Vitt Media were eliminated from the Fox review after the questionnaire round. Executives at both firms declined comment.
Fox vp Nancy Utley, who is running the review, has also declined comment.
While the pitch was thought to involve some $60 million in spot-buying, it is now believed to also include the $12-million newspaper buying account. Network buying remains in-house. The winning agency must establish an office in New York, if it doesn't already have one, sources said.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)