WPP Shops Get Close to $360 Mil. Burger King Account

New York – Young & Rubicam executives were in Miami at Burger King for the second time in a week last Friday, a follow-up to their creative presentation on April 5, sources said. Worldwide CEO Mike Dolan and New York CEO Michael Patti met with BK executives about taking on “a significant assignment” on the $360 million U.S. account.

Also last week, sources said media duties, now at IPG’s MediaFirst, could move to Y&R’s WPP sibling MindShare. Sources have said BK has decided to hire Y&R, but client execs deny any decisions have been made [Adweek Online, March 27].

The relationship between Dolan and Texas Pacific board member Dick Boyce dates back to the mid-1990s and is a key connection, according to sources. Texas Pacific is the largest of BK’s new consortium of owners, and sources said Dolan has been working his BK relationships for months, even before new CEO Brad Blum arrived in January. Dolan and Boyce overlapped at PepsiCo, where Dolan worked from 1991 to 1996, including time at Snack Ventures, a joint venture between PepsiCo Foods International and General Mills. Boyce held various PepsiCo North America positions from 1994 to 1996.

Another key factor is Brian Swette, who had a global marketing role at Pepsi in the mid-’90s and who has ties to BK . Patti, who joined Y&R in February from BBDO in New York, worked on Pepsi for more than a decade at that agency and has known Swette for years.

A client rep acknowledged that BK executives have been meeting with roster and nonroster agencies over the past month. Sources said they are IPG’s Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis (kids’ marketing), Deutsch/ LA in Marina del Rey, Calif. (regional field marketing), Amoeba in Santa Monica, Calif. (brand marketing), and Grey Global Group. Grey appears to have been eliminated from the process, sources said. Deutsch is believed to have another meeting scheduled for next Friday. “We are still in conversations and have not made a decision,” the BK representative said. “We are looking at everything,” including media.

Jordan, Lee Team Up on New Mars Blackmon Ad

new york Spike Lee directs and stars in an ad from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., for Nike’s Air Jordan shoes that breaks Wednesday during ESPN’s telecast of Michael Jordan’s last regular-season game. The spot features Lee as Mars Blackmon in his trademark “Brooklyn” hat and thick glasses. He’s shown in a variety of Brooklyn settings, calling Jordan on his cell phone. Jordan’s voice is patched in to the ad. The two have collaborated on Nike Air Jordan ads since 1988; the last aired in 1995.

Midas Preps $40 Mil. Account Review

CHICAGO Midas is putting together a list of agencies for a creative review, the Itasca, Ill., client confirmed. Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York, which won the auto-repair chain’s $40 million business in October 2001, will be invited to defend, a client representative said. Cliff Freeman created spots tagged, “We do that,” including one that showed an elderly woman flashing her breasts. This year’s schedule is limited to radio and promotional U.S. TV spots. Carat in New York continues to handle media.

Microsoft Breaks Print Campaign via McCann

SAN FRANCISCO Microsoft Business Solutions is positioned as the answer to questions business people face every day in a new global print and online branding campaign breaking today from McCann-Erickson here. One print ad shows a street scene and a downpour of question marks. Copy reads, “Questions are everywhere. Insight is not.” The campaign is aimed at drawing attention to what is a relatively new division of the Redmond, Wash., company to compete in the busy enterprise resource planning space. Spending was not disclosed. The company spends about $350 million annually overall on advertising, according to CMR.

Fitch Buys Independence From Cordiant

CHICAGO Fitch’s Ann Arbor, Mich., office has bought itself back from Cordiant Communications Group, agency executives confirmed. The shop, which has been renamed re:group, made the move after deciding to focus on its branding and design capabilities, said president and CEO Jan Muhleman. Re:group claims about $22 million in billings.