WPP in Talks to Acquire HHCL in London

NEW YORK—WPP is in “serious negotiations” to buy London shop Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, sources said. WPP chairman Sir Martin Sorrell already owns a 15 percent stake in the agency’s parent, Chime Communications, and may add HHCL to the Red Cell network, sources said. HHCL is lead agency in Europe for Chevron/Texaco, whose U.S. account is in review. Contenders include BBDO and Bates Southwest, both Houston, and McCann-Erickson and Young & Rubicam, both San Francisco. WPP officials could not immediately be reached.

The Wiz Hears Presentations for $20 Mil. Business

NEW YORK—Pitches for the estimated $20 million account of The Wiz conclude this week, sources said. Contenders include Bates, Fallon, The Concept Farm, Hampel/Stefanides, The Wolf Group and Cliff Freeman and Partners, all New York. A client panel of about five decision makers is expected to name a winner this week, a source said. Jeff Yapp, group president of retail at The Wiz parent company Cablevision, is well acquainted with Cliff Freeman. He worked closely with the shop when he was president of Hollywood Entertainment Corp., whose Hollywood Video account is with Cliff Freeman. Sources said a new campaign for The Wiz will include TV and radio ads only.

Goodby Readies New and Old ‘Got Milk?’ Ads

NEW YORK—Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is preparing a national “Got Milk?” print campaign for the California Milk Processors Board that focuses on different drink recipes—all of which are missing the crucial ingredient: milk. The effort from the San Francisco shop, expected to break in a month, feature three executions that each describe a different recipe for a “Licuado” drink, a smoothie-like beverage popular in Mexico and South America. Spending on the campaign was undisclosed; the client spends about $20 million on ads annually, according to CMR. Separately, the board is re-distributing its 1993 “Aaron Burr” “Got Milk?” TV spot for nostalgia purposes, according to the client. The spot, also by Goodby, shows an American-history buff unable to answer a radio trivia question—”Who shot Alexander Hamilton?”—because his mouth is full. The spot will start airing July 9 in California and will also be available for national distribution.

Account Activity

Health Net of the Northeast is expected to select an agency shortly, following final presentations last month. Four New York shops pitched the $10 million account: McCann-Erickson, DeVito/Verdi, Merkley Newman Harty & Partners and Catalyst, sources said. Health Net initially approached 10-12 shops [Adweek, June 3], each of which presented strategic and creative ideas in early June. Based on those presentations, the client cut to four agencies, who met again with client executives, said sources. The account had been in-house. … Five undisclosed shops are vying for creative duties on Scottish & Newcastle’s Newcastle Brown Ale brand, sources said. Pitches are set for late July. Spending was less than $1 million last year, according to CMR. One source indicated, however, that given a national push, that figure could rise to $10-15 million. The incumbent, FFwd in Dallas, is not defending. The client could not be reached.