ABC Seeks 'Specialist' For A Piece Of TBWA Chiat/Day's Account

LOS ANGELES – One new item
on ABC Entertainment’s 1998-1999 schedule is an agency search for part of the $50 million account handled by TBWA Chiat/Day.
ABC is talking to several West Coast shops about a creative-only assignment for its made-for-TV films and miniseries in the new season, according to Alison Shaklan, the network’s Los Angeles-based vice president of advertising.
The search does not involve ABC’s brand image, prime-time lineup, specials or theatrical movie advertising, or any of ABC’s media duties, all of which are handled by TBWA C/D, she added. The agency has handled ABC through its Venice, Calif., and New York offices since winning a review in April 1997.
ABC is talking only to shops that specialize in movie advertising, said Shaklan, who declined to name the agencies. “We want [advertising] for our movies to look more like theatrical releases,” she said. “We’re looking for a specialist.” Among ABC’s presentations will be the miniseries Cleopatra.
TBWA C/D is not involved in the search. The shop will continue to handle the media buying portion of the assignment, said Shaklan. Executives at TBWA C/D declined comment.
A decision will be made sometime next month by a group of ABC Entertainment executives, including executive vice president of marketing Alan Cohen, president Jamie Tarses, chairman Stuart Bloomberg and Shaklan.
TBWA C/D, meanwhile, is preparing to launch next month a new phase in its humorous “TV is good” campaign for ABC.
While entertainment clients are notoriously fickle when it comes to their ad agency relationships, Shaklan said ABC is not planning to review any other portions of its account. The third-rated network spent about $55 million on advertising last year, per Competitive Media Reporting. Leader NBC spent $70 million and second-place CBS spent $53 million.
– with staff reports