Disney Narrows to 3 in $500 Mil.-Plus Media Review

LOS ANGELES—The Walt Disney Co. cut the list of contenders for its estimated $500 million-plus media buying account to three, according to sources. Moving on are incumbents Initiative Media North America, an Interpublic Group agency in Los Angeles, and Bcom3’s Starcom in Chicago; as well as Zenith Media in New York, jointly owned by Publicis and Cordiant Communications. The next step is expected to be a project assignment, with meetings next month. Cut were TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., in partnership with Omnicom sister Creative Media in New York, and WPP’s The Media Edge.

4 Vie for $120 Mil. BellSouth Business

ATLANTA—Arnold, Grey, Merkley Newman Harty & Partners and The Richards Group are finalists in BellSouth’s estimated $120 million review. The four—incumbent Merkley and Grey, both in New York, Boston’s Arnold and Dallas-based Richards—will be briefed this week on creative projects due in December. A decision by Atlanta-based BellSouth is expected by January. Wanamaker Associates in Atlanta is overseeing the process. Recent management changes at Merkley are among the factors said to have triggered the process.

T.G.I. Friday’s $40 Mil. Account in Play

DALLAS—T.G.I. Friday’s put its $40 million creative and media account in review, the company confirmed. Los Angeles-based Select Resources International is handling the national search, which includes the Dallas-based incumbent, Publicis in Mid America. T.G.I. Friday’s is also based in Dallas. An SRI rep said no other shops have been contacted yet, and a decision is due by year’s end.

MediaCom Wins $55 Mil. Danone Duties

NEW YORK—After a four-month review of its three incumbent media shops, The Danone Group consolidated its $55 million U.S. media business with Grey Global Group’s MediaCom in New York. MediaCom bested WPP Group’s The Media Edge and Aegis’ Carat, both in New York.

Layoffs Hit Y&R in Detroit

CHICAGO—Fifteen employees were laid off and five positions were eliminated at Young & Rubicam’s Troy, Mich., office. The agency also laid off six workers in May, bringing the total staff reduction this year to about 16 percent. The latest cuts come under the agency’s new president, Don Williams, who took over from Laurie Null. Null in August left for Wunderman in Irvine, Calif.

Fallon Sets New Effort for Timex

CHICAGO—Fallon in Minneapolis brings back Timex’s long-running tagline, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” in a print campaign that breaks this week. The ads mark a shift for Timex, whose recent work has focused on product features. The 10 executions depict different people wearing Timex watches to fit their style. One shows a hairstylist and her fashionable timepiece, while another shows a surfer with her durable watch. The ads are set to run in Oct. 22 issues of People and Sports Illustrated, as well as a variety of monthly magazines. The Middlebury, Conn.-based watchmaker spent $10 million on measured media last year, according to CMR.

JMCP Takes on Arnold Moniker

BOSTON—Jordan McGrath Case & Partners has changed its name to Arnold McGrath. Chairman and CEO Pat McGrath, president Stephen Badenhop and vice chair/chief creative officer Rochelle Klein continue to oversee the New York-based agency. The shop earlier this year was moved from the Euro RSCG network into Boston-based Arnold’s network in order to give the latter a New York presence. Both Arnold and Euro RSCG are units of Paris-based Havas.

Newswire Roundup

LoJack has named semifinalists in the review for its advertising account. They are incumbent Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, both in Boston; Mullen in Wenham, Mass.; and New York shops Bates, Grey, Lowe Lintas & Partners and Margeotes|Fertitta + Partners. Pile and Co. in Boston is overseeing the search. The client spent $5-10 million in 2000, but the budget is likely to be $10-15 million next year. … Bozell in New York has won the $10 million Finlandia Vodka worldwide creative account. The shop beat Arnold in St. Louis and Lowe Lintas & Partners in New York. The bulk of media planning and buying will continue to be handled by an in-house group at Brown-Forman, which owns 45 percent of Finlandia. … Wolf Group in New York is expected to land creative and media duties on two Scotts Co. brands: Ortho and Miracle-Gro branded plants, sources said. Billings are estimated at $15 million. Young & Rubicam and sister shop The Media Edge, both in New York, resigned the business late last month, an agency representative said. … Starcom MediaVest Group has created a direct response subsidiary called Halogen. John McNamara, formerly svp/media director of MediaVest Direct, will lead the unit, which will combine the direct response capabilities from both Starcom and MediaVest. … Carmichael Lynch has joined two other shops in pitching Molson’s estimated $10 million U.S. account. Other contenders are D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in New York and Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami. The Canadian brewery plans to make a decision by early next year. … Earle Palmer Brown is closing its Stamford, Conn., outpost and one of two offices in Philadelphia, resulting in about 15 layoffs, effective Nov. 1. The Philadelphia office is consolidating operations at Panoramic sister shop Odyssey in Manyunk, Pa. The Stamford, Conn., office will combine with the New York headquarters.