Deutsch Exits Weight Watchers

NEW YORK Deutsch has withdrawn from the review for Weight Watchers’ creative account, confirmed Pile and Co., the consultancy managing the process.

The New York-based Interpublic Group-owned shop pulled out late last week before the other three agencies were briefed about the estimated $70 million account, according to sources.

A Deutsch representative declined to explain the withdrawal.

IPG’s McCann Erickson and Omnicom Group’s DDB and BBDO, all in New York, remain in the review and are expected to make final presentations to the client in mid-April, sources said.

WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam in New York is the incumbent. The agency won the business three years ago in a Pile-led review.

In that previous review, the search came down to Y&R and Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York. The creative incumbent, independent Seiden Group in New York, did not participate. The media incumbent, IPG’s Lowe, also pitched for creative chores.

Y&R ultimately won creative, with WPP sibling GroupM in New York adding media duties.

Client spending in measured media fell just short of $70 million last year, up nearly $20 million from 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The decision to hold a review was mainly motivated by client-side management changes, sources said. CEO David Kirchoff, North American communications chief Cheryl Callan and director of advertising Carl Swedberg all joined the New York-based company in the past year.

They called a review in February and by earlier this month, got down to four finalists, which included Deutsch [Adweek, March 5].