Chase Taps Deutsch for Direct Marketing Project

NEW YORK—Deutsch has won a direct marketing assignment from JPMorgan Chase to promote the new Chase/Office Depot credit card, sources said. Billings were undisclosed. The client looked at presentations from nonroster shops for the four-to-six month assignment, according to sources. Grey Direct is Chase’s lead direct marketing agency. Deutsch has Bank One as a client, but handles no direct marketing assignments for them.

McDonald’s Tries Ogilvy, Roster Shops for Diner Ideas

CHICAGO—McDonald’s has strayed from its agency roster for strategies to back its Diner Inside concept, sources said. The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain turned to Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago, as well as roster agencies DDB and Leo Burnett, for ideas, according to sources. No presentations are set and the strategic pitches at this point are thought to be relatively informal. The client and agencies declined comment.

RJR Fined by Calif. Court for Violating Agreement

WASHINGTON—R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. violated the Master Settlement Agreement with states and must pay $20 million, a California judge ruled last week. Judge Ronald Prager of Superior Court in San Diego said in his ruling that “RJR willingly engaged in an aggressive print advertising campaign to maximize exposure to targeted groups such as young adult smokers.” The company was ordered not to place cigarette ads in magazines with a large number of teenage readers. RJR said the decision amounts to censorship and will appeal the ruling.

FCB Leaves $40 Mil. Mattel Review

CHICAGO—Incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding has decided not to go forward with its pitch for Mattel’s $40 million boys and entertainment-division account, sources said. FCB, New York, will still pursue business with Mattel-owned licensed entertainment properties for Fisher Price, sources said. Still pitching the boys and entertainment business, as well as the infant and preschool licensed entertainment properties, are roster shops Ogilvy & Mather, Culver City, Calif., Young & Rubicam in Irvine, Calif., and McCann-Erickson, San Francisco. Pitching Mattel global assignments are incumbent Ogilvy & Mather and McCann-Erickson, the client confirmed. Combined billings for all three accounts are more than $50 million.

FTC Approves Ads for Sweet Alcoholic Drinks

WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission has determined that ads for sweet alcoholic beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade do not target teens. The FTC investigated the ads and marketing documents after the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a complaint last year. J. Howard Beales, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a June 3 letter to CSPI that there was a need for improved labeling on the products because some do not list the alcohol content. The FTC will pursue the issue with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

JWT Fills Account Post on Merrill Lynch

NEW YORK—J. Walter Thompson has hired Alda Abbracciamento, former evp and managing director at The Martin Agency in San Francisco, to steer the private-client portion of its $120 million Merrill Lynch account. Abbracciamento takes the title of evp, global business director. She assumes duties previously held by Pat Corry, who in February became director of marketing at Merrill Lynch’s private wealth-management group in Princeton, N.J.

Ace Hardware Hires Goodby for $30 Mil. Work

CHICAGO—Ace Hardware has selected Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco to handle the creative portion of its $30 million account following a review, a company representative said. The contest came down to four finalists: Goodby; incumbent Campbell Mithun in Chicago; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York; and Atlanta’s WestWayne. Media buying remains at New York-based Horizon Media.

IPG Acquires Media First International

LOS ANGELES—Interpublic Group has acquired New York-based independent media agency Media First International. The 10-year-old agency, which also has an office in Minneapolis, will maintain its name and operate independently. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Media First will report to IPG vice chairman David Bell.

Newswire Roundup

The Martin Agency in Richmond has won AXA Financial’s estimated $15-20 million strategic, creative and media planning account. Earlier this year, TBWA/Chiat/Day in New York had been assigned the business, besting McCarthy Mambro Bertino in Boston. That deal, sources said, broke down in contract negotiations. … Visa is reviewing its estimated $3 million public relations account, the client confirmed. Omnicom’s Ketchum is the six-year incumbent and is defending, sources said. Participating agencies were undisclosed. The review is being handled by New York-based Morgan Anderson Consulting. Visa’s $250 million ad account has been at BBDO since 1985. … CareerBuilder tapped Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago for its $15-20 million account over Bernstein Rein and Barkley Evergreen & Partners, both Kansas City, Mo., and MARC USA, Chicago. Incumbent The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., did not participate in the review. … Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners beat out two competitors for Beech-Nut’s $10-12 million baby-food business: Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago and Rogers Townsend, which, like the client, is in St. Louis. The incumbent was Suissa Miller in Los Angeles. … Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi has struck a deal to use the Bcom3 Group’s Semaphore Partners for its interactive needs. Publicis is poised to acquire Bcom3 in a $3 billion deal.