America Online Cuts to 3 in $300 Mil. Media Review

NEW YORK America Online on Friday named three finalists in the review for the media portion of its $300 million ad account. They are Aegis’ Carat in New York, Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest in Chicago and the incumbent, IPG’s Initiative in New York and Los Angeles, an AOL rep said. Shops cut: Omnicom’s OMD and PHD, and WPP’s Mediaedge:cia. Boston consultancy Pile and Co. is overseeing the search.

Ferrero USA Reviews Proposals For $20 Mil. Creative Account

LOS ANGELES Responses to Ferrero USA’s RFP for the creative portion of its estimated $20 million account were due Friday. According to sources, agencies expected to respond include IPG’s Avrett Free Ginsberg in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.; and independents Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, M&C Saatchi, Mad Dogs & Englishmen and Wieden + Kennedy, all in New York, and McCarthy Mambro Bertino in Boston. Omnicom’s Della Femina Rothschild Jeary and Partners and Cossette Post, both in New York, and independent Modernista! in Boston received the RFP but do not intend to pursue the account, said sources. The Somerset, N.J.-based confectioner, which makes products such as Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher, worked with IPG’s McCann-Erickson in New York. Neither the consultancy, Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., nor the client could be reached.

New York City Invites Agencies To Become Marketing Partners

NEW YORK The New York City Marketing Development Corp. has issued a request for questionnaires to agencies nationwide who will compete to be part of the city’s pool of preferred shops. The client will choose an undetermined number of agencies specializing in design, advertising, and media, among others, and will send the shops RFPs on upcoming projects, including tourism and economic-development ad campaigns and licensing deals. Interested agencies must request the form by Jan. 13 and return it by Feb. 6. Winners will be chosen in mid- February. The city’s 2004 marketing budget has not yet been determined.

American Legacy Breaks ‘Connect Truth’ Campaign

BOSTON The American Legacy Foundation today launches its latest anti-smoking campaign, “Connect Truth,” from Havas’ Arnold and MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky. In “Replacement Smokers,” a teen says, “Tobacco companies sell a product that kills their customers. … So every day they need to attract what one tobacco exec called, ‘replacement smokers.’ ” A young girl then says, “My dad died from emphysema from smoking six years ago. I haven’t met his replacement yet.” Three spots will air on MTV, BET and the WB, among others. The client spent about $90 million on advertising in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

News Roundup this week will begin reviewing RFIs submitted by shops interested in competing for its estimated $55 million account. The Dallas-based client sent RFIs to WPP’s J. Walter Thompson in New York, and Publicis’ Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco and Leo Burnett in Chicago. Previously reported were Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and DDB in Chicago; Publicis’ Fallon in Minneapolis and Publicis in Mid America in Dallas; and independent The Richards Group in Dallas, sources said. … The most aggressive ad in George Lois’ campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich breaks tomorrow in Iowa and New Hampshire. “U.S. Out, U.N. In” replaces the Paul MacFarlane copy “Fear Ends. Hope Begins” that had become the theme. … Four spots from WPP’s Young & Rubicam break tomorrow and feature NCAA student-athletes on the playing field and in the classroom. The effort will run on CBS and ESPN throughout the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. … The Coca-Cola Co. will launch Diet Coke with Lime nationally this month with a radio, point-of-sale and out-of-home effort via Grey in Atlanta, sources said. The radio spot will use the Harry Nilsson song “Coconut” but will use another artist’s version for this effort, sources said. Spending could not be determined.