Ask Jeeves Taps San Francisco Office of TBWA\Chiat\Day

SAN FRANCISCO TBWA\Chiat\Day has won the Ask Jeeves ad account. The work marks the first new business win for the 35-employee San Francisco shop since it lost the Levi’s account 16 months ago. The agency will handle print and online creative and Omnicom sibling OMD will handle media. The firm hopes to continue to leverage the strong recognition of its Jeeves butler character, a client rep said. The account had been in-house. Ask Jeeves reported no ad expenditures last year, according to CMR; $5 million in 2001 and $20 million in 2000.

Lowe, Bozell Still Under Separate Roofs, Layoffs Due

NEW YORK The merger of IPG’s Lowe and Bozell is moving along more slowly than expected as the two shops work through real estate issues. Most of Bozell’s 325 staffers will eventually move into Lowe’s midtown headquarters, but limited space is holding up the relocation. For now, department heads are splitting time between the two offices, said sources. One knotty real estate issue is that IPG is still tied into a lease on the Bozell space and is trying to avoid the cost of buying its way out, said sources. An IPG rep said the company is making progress with these issues. In addition, about 50 staffers from the two agencies will be laid off this week due to cost cutting and job redundancies, sources said.

Calif. Lottery Rescinds Decision, Restarts Review for Third Time

LOS ANGELES The California Lottery voted Friday to throw out its selection of McCann-Erickson and put the five-year, $125 million account back in review for a third time, a client representative said. The lottery will not rule on outstanding protests filed by the other finalists: IPG’s Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco, Omnicom’s DDB, and the incumbent, Grey Global Group’s Grey, both in Los Angeles, sources said. The decision was the result of McCann’s failure to disclose information about parent IPG and other U.S. McCann offices in addition to information about its Los Angeles office, sources said. Agency execs did not return calls.

OMC Brass Take a Pass On 2002 Bonus Payouts

NEW YORK Executive officers of Omnicom chose not to collect cash bonuses in 2002, even though performance criteria had been met. Per the company’s proxy filing with the SEC, senior management wanted to assure that mid-level and operating management received “substantial incentive compensation” while allowing Omnicom to meet shareholder objectives. Those who didn’t collect bonuses are CEO John Wren (whose bonus in 2001 was $1.3 million), DAS CEO Thomas Harrison ($1.2 million in 2001), vice chairman Peter Mead ($1.3 million), DDB chairman Keith Reinhard ($1.1 million) and BBDO CEO Allen Rosenshine ($1.1 million).

Final Pitches for Nextel Kick Off Today

Nextel Communications will hear final pitches this week. Scheduled to present for creative today are Publicis’ Leo Burnett in Chicago, and Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York; presenting tomorrow: Havas’ Arnold in Boston and the incumbent, IPG’s Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and Winston-Salem, N.C., sources said. Media finalists, who go on Thursday, are Publicis’ Starcom, Omnicom’s OMD, Havas’ Media Planning Group and incumbent Initiative Media, an IPG shop. Roth Associates is managing the $150 million review.

Review News

Federated Department Stores and Saks Fifth Avenue are each seeking a shop to create ads, sources said. Federated’s review is for Macy’s and three finalists—Omnicom’s BBDO in New York and IPG’s Lowe in New York and Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich.—are preparing final pitches. Saks, meanwhile, has briefed at least four undisclosed shops for creative pitches on May 5 and 6. Saks’ search is being steered by director of advertising Debbie Patire. The bulk of Macy’s and Saks’ marketing efforts are handled in-house.

Accounts Awarded

Publicis’ Fallon in New York has won creative and media planning duties on Virgin Mobile USA’s $50 million account. Media buying duties remain at Palisades Media Group in Santa Monica, Calif. … JetBlue Airways has selected Sapient for Web duties. The Cambridge, Mass.-based digital shop bested Merkley Newman Harty Interactive in New York. The budget is undisclosed.