FCB to Reclaim Taco Bell Business

LOS ANGELES-Foote, Cone & Belding is in line to win the field marketing portion of Taco Bell’s $200 million ad account, sources said last week.
Laurie Gannon, a Taco Bell representative, confirmed the $20-40 million business is in review, but denied that a decision had been reached. “We have not yet awarded Taco Bell’s field marketing. FCB is definitely one of the agencies we are talking to, as well as Bozell. A decision will be made in the next couple of weeks,” she said, adding that the client also is considering other, undisclosed shops.
FCB, which handled the entire Taco Bell account from 1988 to 1994, marshalled the resources of its various offices to pitch the business, including Santa Ana, Calif.; Chicago; and New York, with the former incumbent San Francisco office taking the lead, sources said. One source said Taco Bell has decided upon FCB but that “the paperwork is not yet signed.”
Taco Bell has been “evaluating its field marketing agencies” [Adweek, Aug. 25] and has met with several shops in an effort to “strengthen our field operations,” Gannon said. Field marketing duties, which consist mainly of customizing the national advertising for franchisees, are currently split among TBWA Chiat/Day’s office in St. Louis; Bozell Worldwide in Costa Mesa, Calif., which handles Taco Bell’s media buying and planning chores; Landor
& Partners in Clearwater, Fla.; and various other smaller shops around the country. Bozell handles 60-65 percent of the field marketing business.
Gannon denied rumors that the media account is also in review, but sources said FCB may be pitching that portion of the business as well. Executives from FCB declined to comment or did not return calls. Gannon also denied that creative chores, at TBWA C/D’s office in Venice, Calif., were in trouble.
Michael Markowitz, the Great Barrington, Mass., consultant handling the review, had “no comment” and referred calls to the client. -with Jennifer Comiteau and Michael McCarthy