IPG, McCann Execs Consider Shuttering Amster Yard

NEW YORK Executives at IPG and McCann-Erickson WorldGroup are considering dissolving boutique agency Amster Yard, sources said. Established in 1994 as a subsidiary of WorldGroup, the New York shop last year was moved under the control of the IPG Sports and Entertainment Group, reporting to CEO Mark Dowley. Sources said the move would be an effort to cut costs. Amster Yard has 25 employees. Its largest account is Bacardi Martini, for which it does print for overseas markets. Its only U.S. client is cable TV network Outdoor Life. Amster Yard executive creative director Jeff Weiss would likely be offered a senior creative position in another IPG agency, probably at McCann or Lowe, sources said. “We’re not being absorbed into anything as far as I’ve been told. My orders are very clear: Keep Amster Yard growing,” Weiss said. IPG execs could not be reached at press time.

Virgin Mobile USA Cuts to 4 in Review for $50 Mil. Account

NEW YORK Four agencies have emerged as finalists for creative and media planning duties on Virgin Mobile USA’s estimated $50 million account, sources said. They are the New York and Minneapolis offices of Publicis’ Fallon, WPP’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York, and independents Modernista! in Boston and Leagas Delaney in San Francisco, the incumbent. The client, with offices in San Francisco and Warren, N.J., confirmed only that Leagas is defending. The client declined further comment. Shops are set to make strategic presentations this week, sources said. Gilbert Taney Farlie in New York is overseeing the process.

Chrysler Ads to Tout New Car, Jeep Gets Minor Film Role

new york DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group next month will launch a trio of 30-second TV spots shot on famous New York City roads to introduce the Chrysler Pacifica. The spots will use music by Céline Dion and retain the tagline, “Drive & Love.” One spot was developed jointly by Chrysler Group’s general-market agency, BBDO in Troy, Mich.; its multicultural agency, GlobalHue in Southfield, Mich.; and New York-based Arnell Group. Meanwhile, Chrysler’s Jeep division is launching a new integrated marketing effort to support its association with the Twentieth Century Fox film Chasing Papi. The effort, via GlobalHue, features a co-branded spot, Jeep product placement in the film and events in eight markets.

Semifinalists Named In Jim Beam Search

CHICAGO Jim Beam cut to semifinalists last week in a review of its $20 million account. Among them are incumbent Young & Rubicam, BBDO, Element 79, Leo Burnett and Ogilvy & Mather, all in Chicago; Minneapolis shops Carmichael Lynch, Colle + McVoy and Fallon; North Castle Partners Advertising in Stamford, Conn.; and Wolf Group in New York, sources said.

American Legacy Foundation Picks 4

BOSTON Four finalists emerged today in the American Legacy Foundation’s review for the creative portion of its $50-60 million anti-tobacco program. Still in the race are the incumbent team of Havas’ Arnold in Boston and Maxxcom’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami; IPG’s Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich.; Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas; and independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore. Those cut were Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and IPG’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. Publicis’ Fallon in Minneapolis withdrew last week. Final presentations are set for the first week in May. Pile and Co. in Boston is managing the process.

Ferguson Returning to DDB as Consultant on McDonald’s

CHICAGO Jim Ferguson, 49, will join DDB in Chicago as evp, creative consultant for McDonald’s less than a month before key meetings with that client, which has asked all of its shops for branding ideas to replace the “Smile” campaign. Ferguson resigned as chief creative officer at Young & Rubicam in New York last week to return to DDB, where he was CCO in Dallas from 1995-99. U.S. CCO Bob Scarpelli said Ferguson’s title was kept vague on purpose, as his duties may be expanded, possibly to a global role on McDonald’s.