Cordiant in Talks With Bankers

NEW YORK—Cordiant Communications Group, the parent company of Bates Worldwide, is renegotiating its banking covenants after suffering an earnings collapse. Analysts said the London-based holding company wants to complete talks with bankers by mid-February before the release of its 2001 earnings report in March. In December, CCG issued a profits warning, projecting that revenue for 2001 would drop 9 percent.

Saturn Ion Pitch Continues With Round 2

DETROIT—The five agencies contending for the $35-50 million Saturn Ion account meet here with the automaker again this week. The first briefing was held in mid-December. Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore., will pitch Tuesday. Wednesday presenters will be Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, in the morning, followed by D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York. Thursday will be roster shop Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, in the morning, followed by McCann-Erickson, New York. Sources say General Motors is leaning toward bigger agencies with networks to make sure the debuting nameplate gets the necessary nurturing. The smaller shops, Wieden and Goodby, will need to “blow the doors off” creatively to stand a chance, sources said.

Pizza Hut Names 3 Finalists

NEW YORK—Pizza Hut selected Ogilvy & Mather and Cliff Freeman and Partners, both New York, and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., as finalists in a review for project advertising, sources said. Media spending was undisclosed. The Dallas-based client said in December that it was looking for a secondary agency to BBDO in New York, which has had the account since 1987. Pizza Hut spent $140 million in U.S. media in 2001, per CMR. In August, it shifted media planning duties from BBDO to WPP Group’s The Media Edge in New York, which also handles buying. Executives at the agencies and a client representative declined comment.

Wieden to Launch Air Jordan Work

NEW YORK—Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., will unveil a campaign directed by Spike Lee for Nike’s latest Air Jordan shoe. Three spots breaking Jan. 27 star NBA players Ray Allen, Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson. The spots, inspired by Michael Jordan’s love of music, take place in a jazz club, where basketball players—not musicians—are the featured entertainment.

Chrysler Pulls Jeep Deer Spot

DETROIT—A Jeep spot reviewed in this week’s Critique (see page 26) was pulled after running only a few times on Jan. 6 because of complaints that it reflected negatively on hunting. Jennifer Rossbach, a representative for Chrysler agency PentaMark in Troy, Mich., acknowledged only on Friday that the ad had been pulled. Chrysler Group representative James Kenyon said the automaker made a joint decision with the agency to pull the spot, which he said Chrysler intended as “pro-Jeep,” not anti-hunting. The spot shows a Jeep Grand Cherokee with two deer tied to its top driving down the road. The Jeep drives past a “No Hunting” sign and stops. The driver gets out and releases the deer.