Fortune Up for Grabs Fallon, TBWA and New WRG Unit Pitching

By Michael McCarthy and Hank Kim

NEW YORK–Fortune magazine has invited three high-profile shops across the country to pitch its ad account.

The Time Inc. business publication plans to spend around $5 million on advertising, said sources.

The three agencies are: TBWA Chiat/Day in New York; Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis; and Black Ink, a newly formed unit of Wells Rich Greene BDDP Communications in New York, which specializes in business-to-business advertising. John Needham, Fortune’s vice president of communications, is heading the agency search.

Fortune met with a number of agencies before narrowing the pitch to four shops. Martin/Williams in Minneapolis was recently eliminated from the review, leaving the three finalists, said Needham. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.

The review involves both creative and media duties for the New York-based magazine, added Needham, who declined to comment on billings.

Incumbent agency Mullen in Wenham, Mass., is not participating in the review but will continue to buy media through the end of June, he said.

Interestingly, this review sees TBWA Chiat/Day pitted against Fallon once again: The two shops have gone head-to-head several times in the last year in reviews for clients such as United Airlines.

Just last week, TBWA Chiat/Day’s New York office recruited Megan Kent as a new managing partner and planning director from Fallon. While at the Minneapolis shop, Kent helped the agency win the United account.

Fortune’s circulation is growing, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, keeping pace with competitor Forbes. –with Sarah Jones and Jeff Gremillion

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