Hill, Holliday Among HGTV Hopefuls

BOSTON—Finalists will be named this week in the review for Home & Garden Television’s $10-12 million account, according to a representative from AAR Group, the consulting company overseeing the search. In the running are Fitzgerald & Co., Atlanta; MARC USA and Cramer-Krasselt, both Chicago; Doner, Southfield, Mich.; and the New York offices of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, DeVito/Verdi and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. The account had been with Lewis Communications in Birmingham, Ala.

Legacy Reviews Its Options on Media

WASHINGTON—The American Legacy Foundation said it is soliciting ideas from its current media buyer, Havas-owned Arnold MPG, New York, and other undisclosed media experts to make its $50-75 million media buying operation more efficient. Chris Cullen, Legacy’s evp of marketing and communications, called his effort “an audit” that he said must be done because funding from the tobacco industry, which supports the “Truth” campaign, will change. Next April, Legacy will receive the last of the five $300 million payments from Big Tobacco agreed to in the Master Settlement Agreement. Creative is split between Arnold, Boston, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Arnold Adds to Its McDonald’s Cache

BOSTON—Havas’ Arnold in Boston and Arnold MPG in New York last week added an estimated $15-20 million in creative and media duties, respectively, from McDonald’s franchisee groups in New England. The bulk of the work comes from the Boston-area co-op, which had used Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett and Starcom, both Chicago, for creative and media, respectively. Arnold bested Burnett and Starcom in a shootout for the work. The shootout was called to generate cost savings, according to a McDonald’s representative. Arnold and its affiliated agencies handle 17 McDonald’s franchisee groups nationwide.

Former Euro RSCG Executive Faces Charges

NEW YORK—Dominador Ponsades, a former vp, finance at Euro RSCG Worldwide, has been charged by federal prosecutors with embezzling $1 million from the agency. An indictment unsealed last week alleges that between December 1996 and March 2001, Ponsades forged expense reports to cover personal debts and expenses, notably $300,000 to enlarge his wine collection. Ponsades, 41, handled the company’s internal bookkeeping in Euro’s New York office and was not responsible for clients’ funds. He was dismissed in March 2001, following an internal investigation into possible financial improprieties that seemed to implicate him, said Nancy Wynne, Euro’s general counsel.

Berlin Cameron Withdraws From Timex Pitch

NEW YORK—Berlin Cameron/Red Cell has withdrawn from the $5-10 million Timex review. The remaining semifinalists are Modernista! in Boston, Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and the New York offices of Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos; Bartle Bogle Hegarty; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners; and Margeotes|Fertitta + Partners.