Reckitt Benckiser Selects 2 for $430 Mil. Account

NEW YORK—Reckitt Benckiser has split creative duties on its $430 million global account between Euro RSCG and J. Walter Thompson, following a four-month review, the client confirmed. The agencies beat Ogilvy & Mather in the final round. McCann-Erickson was forced to resign the business in November due to a conflict. Euro RSCG will handle advertising for fabric-care, dishwashing and home-care products. Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG already oversees Reckitt’s $15 million U.S. condiment account. JWT won brands in the surface-care and health- and personal-care categories. Euro RSCG and JWT will run the business out of London.

IPG’s Proxy Statement Details Top Execs’ Financials

NEW YORK—Interpublic Group’s proxy statement filed last week shows that Frank Lowe, chairman of Lowe and Octagon, will retire effective Jan. 2, 2003. Lowe has the option to exercise 270,000 shares of IPG stock options on Jan. 1, 2003. Also according to the proxy, McCann-Erickson WorldGroup CEO Jim Heekin received a one-time payment of $750,000 after IPG determined the number of performance units granted to him under the company’s long-term performance-incentive program “didn’t adequately reflect” his contribution to IPG’s profitability during 1997-2000. IPG chairman John Dooner received a bonus of $500,000 in 2001, down from 2000, when he received $1.5 million. Heekin’s bonus was also less, falling to $600,000 for 2001 from $1.2 million for 2000.

D’Arcy Cuts 10 Percent of N.Y. Staff

NEW YORK—D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles last Friday said it laid off about 50 people across all disciplines, or about 10 percent of its New York staff. In a statement, D’Arcy New York president Lance Smith said, “We believe this restructuring will allow us to enhance the quality of our service to our clients and position the agency for a brighter future.” Agency executives declined further comment. The cuts came two weeks after Procter & Gamble shifted its $30 million U.S. Pampers account from D’Arcy to Saatchi & Saatchi in New York. However, D’Arcy recently hired at least 10 staffers from Lowe to work on the newly acquired $50-60 million Heineken account. Also, D’Arcy’s parent, Bcom3, was recently bought by Publicis Groupe, and one source said the restructuring was in part related to the merger.

Fidelity to Get ‘Personally Invested’ With Arnold

BOSTON—Arnold next month is set to unveil its first major national campaign for Fidelity Investments’ mutual funds and retirement services, and ads will play off the theme “personally invested,” sources said. Some permutation of that phrase will likely appear in a May TV salvo from the Boston shop, which last summer succeeded Boston rival Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos on the business. Fidelity for two years has aired campaigns tagged, “See yourself succeeding,” a line by Hill, Holliday; sources said that tagline may continue to be used, due to strong recognition among consumers.

Deutsch Breaks Ads for MCI’s The Neighborhood

NEW YORK—Deutsch bowed a campaign last Tuesday for MCI’s new unlimited nationwide calling service, The Neighborhood. Both print and a 60-second spot tout “freedom of speech,” with the premise that words should not cost more because they travel over distance. The campaign is the first work from Deutsch since the Arlington, Va.-based client awarded it $100 million worth of business—including all MCI-branded products—in February. Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet terer/Euro RSCG continues to handle B2B and unbranded assignments.

BBDO Atlanta Taps Cheroff, Loses Noble

ATLANTA—BBDO added a top management executive and lost an ecd last week. Agency president and CEO Chris Hall said Rob Cheroff, former senior partner and management director at J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta, has joined BBDO’s Atlanta office as evp and management director. Cheroff, who managed the U.S. Marine Corps account for Jeff White at JWT, will handle the $250 million Cingular Wireless account, BBDO’s largest client. Hall also said that ecd Jim Noble has resigned. Noble, who had been at the shop for less than a year, is said to be moving back to Lake Tahoe, Nev., to freelance.

Newswire Roundup

Grey last week won the $40-50 million creative ad assignment for Botox, and its Buzz Grey unit has landed creative duties for Sanex WTA Tour, which sources estimated to be worth $8-10 million. Grey’s MediaCom got Botox’s media assignment, and Grey Healthcare won direct and interactive marketing for Botox. … McCann-Erickson will handle the marketing launch for Vanilla Coke, sources said. The new beverage from the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. hits stores May 15. A Coke representative would not comment on whether McCann, owned by Interpublic Group, would be creating the ads. “The advertising will be created within the IPG family,” the representative said. IPG has been the creative partner on Coke Classic since December 2000. … Sega of America consolidated its estimated $25 million ad account with roster shop Leagas Delaney in San Francisco. Roster shop Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco also participated in the pitch. …

DeVry University selected DraftWorldwide for its estimated $35-40 million TV and direct marketing account after a review. The Chicago shop bested fellow Chicago agencies OgilvyOne and Cramer-Krasselt. The incumbent was Brown Marketing Communications, also Chicago. Jones Lundin Beals in Chicago managed the process. … Technology group Greco Ethridge Group is closing down, sources said. A staffer at the shop’s New York office referred questions to partners Tucker Greco and Rob Ethridge, both of whom did not return calls.