Toyota Readies Asian Agency Search

CHICAGO—Toyota is preparing to launch a search for its first Asian American target agency, according to Steve Sturm, vp, marketing Toyota Motor Sales USA. Sturm did not disclose a planned budget for Asian target work.

BMW Films Set for Screen; Manson Among Stars

CHICAGO—Rocker Marilyn Manson will have a cameo in the upcoming BMW Films series, joining singer James Brown and actors Ray Liotta, F. Murray Abraham, Gary Oldman and Clive Owen, sources said. The online series is set to break following an Oct. 17 premiere. The films, created by BMW of North America and Fallon Minneapolis, were directed by Tony Scott, John Woo and Joe Carnahan.

OnStar Awards Direct Project to Digitas

DETROIT—OnStar, a General Motors subsidiary, has given a direct project to Digitas, following a review. Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., remains lead agency for the com pany and also handles direct work. The Digitas assignment focuses on customer loy alty and retention and is aimed at the 2 million OnStar subscribers, said a client rep. OnStar spent about $30 million in 2001 on media and $9 million through the first seven months of 2002, per CMR. Digitas, Boston, handles GMC’s direct mail and Web site, while the shop’s New York office does event marketing. Tony DiSalle became OnStar vp of sales, service and marketing in February. Before that, he was a GMC brand manager.

Drexel Heritage Furniture to Select From 4 Shops

CHICAGO—Drexel Heritage Furniture is considering four finalists for its $5-10 million account, sources said. They are Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chi cago; Fallon, Minneapolis; and New York shops Merkley Newman Harty & Partners and Young & Rubicam, which is pitching with Brand Buzz. The High Point, N.C., client’s business had been in-house.

Pile to Handle Timex Search

BOSTON—Pile and Co. confirmed it is handling the review for Timex’s $5-10 million account, which had been with Fallon, Minneapolis. That shop is not defending. Boston-based Pile this week plans to send RFPs to an undisclosed number of agencies; a decison is due by year’s end.

GNC Expected to Consolidate at Y&R

CHICAGO—General Nutrition Cos. is expected to consolidate its $30 million ad and direct marketing business at Young & Rubicam and Wunderman here, sources said. The Pittsburgh unit of Royal Numico previously worked with several shops, including MARC USA and Ten United, both Pittsburgh, and TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, which was hired in March to work on in-store graphics and sign age with the hope that the project would develop into a long-term relationship, sources said. In June, GNC hired a new chief marketing officer, Michael Tam. He did not return calls. Y&R referred calls to GNC.

9 Agencies in Line for Metra

CHICAGO—Metra, the Chicago-area commuter-train system, is looking at about nine shops in the review for its $1-2 million account, said Jim Bonistalli, client director of marketing. A cut is expected in several weeks, he said. Incumbent BBDS, Chicago, is taking part.