FedEx Hears From Consultants

NEW YORK—FedEx is accepting credentials from search consultants looking to handle a review for its estimated $85 million account, sources said. The Memphis, Tenn.-based client next week will hear a creative pitch from longtime agency BBDO that sources said will determine the shop’s fate [Adweek, June 4]. “We have a long-standing relationship with BBDO and are looking forward to their new creative presentation,” said a client representative.

Verizon Shuffles Agencies Again

DALLAS—Verizon Wireless has undergone a major realignment of its retail wireless business, consolidating from seven to four territories, a client representative confirmed. The estimated $15 million Southcentral account, previously handled by Bates Southwest in Houston, has been combined with the Southeast business, handled by Erwin-Penland in Greenville, S.C., and awarded to Erwin-Penland, sources said. California and Northwest markets were combined and awarded to Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, which bested GMO/Hill, Holliday in San Francisco, sources said. Billings for the combined account are $40 million. The Midwest region was expanded to 15 states but remained with incumbent O2 Ideas in Birmingham, Ala. And a contest between the New York office of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and the client’s national brand agency, Bozell, New York, for the Northeast territory remains undecided.

Diageo Audits U.S. Media Roster Shops

LOS ANGELES—Diageo has requested audits from media agencies on its U.S. roster in what may be a prelude to a consolidation, said sources. The client requested the audits to determine the return on its paid media investment, said one executive. Diageo’s brands include Guinness, Smirnoff and J&B Scotch. Approval of Diageo and French drinks group Pernod Ricard SA’s purchase of Canadian Seagram is expected next month, which will add brands such as Captain Morgan and VO Canadian. Last year, U.S. spending on Seagram’s liquor business was about $110 million, while Diageo’s was nearly $60 million, per CMR. Diageo’s U.S. media shop roster includes Starcom in Chicago and CIA in New York. Seagram’s primary media buyer is New York’s MediaCom.

Account Activity

Five New York shops are vying for ad duties for a new arthritis pain reliever to be co-marketed by Pharmacia and Pfizer, sources said. They are Grey, McCann-Erickson, Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, Deutsch and J. Walter Thompson, sources said. Pitches were last week; a decision is expected shortly. … Seven media shops are pitching Jenny Craig’s $25 million media account. Contenders are: Horizon Media, MindShare, KSL Media and incumbent Carat, all Los Angeles; Initiative Media in San Diego; Starcom in San Francisco; and Mediaspot in Corona del Mar, Calif. … At least three shops are vying for Starz Encore Groups’s $40 million account: Publicis & Hal Riney and TBWA\Chiat\Day, both in San Francisco, and one of McCann-Erickson’s California offices, sources said. … Eight shops are in the race for Timberland’s estimated $15-20 million account: Black Rocket/Euro RSCG in San Francisco; New York agencies DDB, Fallon, J. Walter Thompson, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA Worldwide and Young & Rubicam; and Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis.