El Torito Selects Perceive

SAN FRANCISCO—Mexican-style restaurant chain El Torito last week awarded Perceive in Long Beach its $4 million ad account after a 10-week review. The other finalists were Campbell-Ewald, Kovel/Fuller and G/F/D/M, all in Los Angeles. “All the agencies did a great job in their presentation … but Perceive had a fresh take on how to target our audience,” said Ira James, svp of marketing for the 76-unit chain in Southern California.

Cole & Weber Cuts Back

LOS ANGELES—Cole & Weber/Red Cell laid off six employees at its 80-person Seattle office and two at its 30-person Portland, Ore., office, the company confirmed. Half of those cut were in the interactive department. The economy and a shift in Web projects were cited as reasons for the moves.

Ground Zero Wins Waterpik

LOS ANGELES—Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif., won Waterpik Technologies’ $10-15 million creative and media planning account. Finalists included Gabriel Diericks Razidlo, Minneapolis and DDB, Dallas, which withdrew due to a conflict with client Clorox. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based client worked with FCB, San Francisco, which did not defend the business, for 15 years. Media buying has yet to be assigned. The review was led by Jones Lundin Beals, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Lavidge & Baumayr Buys SRO

LOS ANGELES—Lavidge & Baumayr has acquired SRO Communications, in-house advertising and public relations agency for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition brings to L&B contracts with the Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Open Golf. The move is expected to add $5-6 million in billings for the agency, which claimed $35 million in billings last year.

S.F. Parking Authority Begins Search

LOS ANGELES—The San Francisco Parking Authority has issued an RFP for an agency to provide indoor ad sales for six of its 18 garages. The city-owned garages have not been used as an advertising venue in the past.

Accounts Roundup

TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York withdrew from the review for Timberland’s $15-20 million account, according to the client. Seven shops remain in the pitch. … Following a review, Suiza Foods opted to keep its Morningstar Foods account with DDB in Dallas. Among those vying for the work was Young & Rubicam in San Francisco. … Northrop Grumman Corp. is down to four undisclosed finalists in the review for its estimated $3-4 million creative and media account. The Century City, Calif., aerospace giant has worked with BBDO West in Los Angeles for eight years. BBDO did defend, but it could not be determined if it made the finals. … Simms Fishing Products moved its estimated $5 million account from Barnhart/CMI in Denver to Mullen in Wenham, Mass., without a review. … Vanguard Airlines shifted its $5 million account from Valley Media in Salt Lake City to hometown agency Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo.