Duncan & Associates Revamps, Taps Tolpin

LOS ANGELES—Veteran creative Larry Tolpin has joined Duncan & Associates as managing partner and chief creative officer. Tolpin, who most recently was based in San Francisco as worldwide creative director for J. Walter Thompson, joins Duncan at a time when the five-year-old agency is attempting to expand its client base. The shop, which has $150 million in billings, has been focused almost exclusively on American Stores’ retail chains, including Albertson’s and Sav-On. According to agency CEO Hugh Duncan, the shop laid off eight of its 60 staffers last week, including creative director Sandy Jones. “We are revamping the agency,” said Duncan. “For the past five years we have been focused on the Albertson’s business and now we are finally popping our heads up.” Tolpin noted, “This is going to be a different agency now—leaner and meaner.”

2 Shops Now Vying for Arthritis Drug

NEW YORK—Two New York shops—J. Walter Thompson and Deutsch—remain in contention for ad duties on an as-yet-unnamed arthritis drug that will be co-marketed by Pharmacia and Pfizer, sources said. Billings were not disclosed, but sources said the drug will be a successor to Pharmacia’s Celebrex, which spent nearly $80 million in measured media last year, per CMR. Sources indicated that JWT and Deutsch are in compensation talks with the client following pitches last month [Adweek, June 11]. Three other New York shops—Grey, McCann-Erickson and Merkley Newman Harty & Partners—also pitched the business.

Temerlin, DDB Downsize

DALLAS—A new wave of layoffs swept through Dallas last week, as Temerlin McClain let go 30 staffers and DDB cut 16 employees. Temerlin’s cuts—about six percent of its staff—are said to anticipate a significant reduction in spending by client Nortel Networks later this year. “Our industry has experienced a severe downturn,” confirmed Andrew Lark, Nortel’s vp of corporate marketing. “We require less people internally and externally.” Temerlin executives did not respond to a request for comment at press time. Nortel’s measured media spending was about $95 million in 2000, according to CMR, up dramatically from the $20 million the company was spending annually when Temerlin took over the account in December 1998. Irving, Texas-based Temerlin already reduced its workforce by more than 100 people in early May. The agency simultaneously implemented an across-the-board payroll reduction of five percent. DDB’s cuts last week, five percent of its workforce, were made “to better align our projected revenues with costs,” said Jake Schroepfer, CEO and president of the agency’s Dallas office.

Account Activity

The Academy for Educational Development is holding a review for a $20 million fall campaign for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to inform Medicare recipients of their health-care options. The Washington, D.C.-based group has invited six undisclosed agencies to make presentations involving strategic thinking and cost comparisons for the campaign.