Charles Schwab Seeks New Partner on $110 Mil. Account

NEW YORK Charles Schwab wants its agency to target “the millionaire next door,” according to a four-page RFP distributed by Select Resources International and due back Sept. 2. The San Francisco-based client confirmed that it tapped SRI last week to oversee a $110 million creative and media review. Also on the wish list: an integrated brand campaign to drive retail traffic, the RFP says. Schwab wants work to launch early next year. Credentials meetings with six shops will begin the week of Sept. 16, followed by a cut to four. Final presentations are due to begin Nov. 3. Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, will not defend, sources said. OMD is the media incumbent.

WPP Boosts Margin Forecasts After 15% Profit Increase

NEW YORK WPP Group said its pretax first-half profit rose almost 15 percent to $321 million on a 6 percent rise in revenue to $3.7 billion. On a constant-currency basis, profit jumped more than 26 percent, revenue 13 percent. The U.K. holding company raised its margin target to 14.5 percent in 2005 and 15 percent in 2006, up from 13.8 percent this year. WPP CEO Martin Sorrell told analysts that WPP’s due diligence into a possible bid for Grey Global Group has been slowed and is not expected to be completed by mid-August, as originally thought. He also said Grey’s revenue would add 11 to 12 percent to WPP’s revenue.

Delta to Choose Finalists This Week in $20 Mil. Review

CHICAGO Delta Air Lines is expected to make a cut early this week in the review for its $20 million account. The five New York-based semifinalists presented last week, with Omnicom’s BBDO going Monday; IPG’s Lowe, followed by Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, on Tuesday; and WPP’s J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather on Wednesday. The Atlanta-based carrier is being assisted by the Rojek Consulting Group in Cleveland and New York. Incumbents Brighthouse and Publicis’ Starcom have been eliminated. Brighthouse will continue to handle creative projects.

EA’s Nascar 2005 Sells Out In-Game Ads, Reaps $1 Mil.

NEW YORK Even before Electronic Arts’ Nascar 2005: Chase for the Cup rolls out Sept. 2, it will make more than $1 million in revenue from in-game placement deals with AutoZone, Dodge, Levi’s, Mr. Clean and Old Spice. The deals mark the biggest in-game sales revenue for an EA sports title, which sold out its product integration inventory. EA will tout the title starting next week with a TV spot, via See in San Francisco, starring Kevin Harvick and other drivers. EA spent about $3 million on ads for its Nascar title last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Kia to Consider 4 Finalists in $270 Mil. Creative Hunt

LOS ANGELES The four finalists in Kia Motors America’s creative review will be briefed at client headquarters in Irvine, Calif., on Thursday, sources said. Still in contention for the $270 million account are incumbent davidandgoliath of Los Angeles, which had been given an automatic berth in the finals; indie Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago; Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas; and MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York, the client said. Achenbaum Bogda Associates in Raleigh, N.C., is overseeing the review. A decision is expected by early fall.

Kmart Casts Hispanic TV Stars In Spots to Run on Telemundo

NEW YORK Kmart has signed a deal with Telemundo that will feature two popular Hispanic TV stars in a national commercial. Genesis Rodriguez and Rebecca Montoya will appear in a 30-second Kmart ad, via Wing Latino in New York, that will run on the network through Sept. 6 as well as on local Hispanic media in key areas such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami. In the spot, Rodriguez wears Kmart’s Route 66 apparel and Montoya appears in the Thalia line. Kmart spent about $2 million on Hispanic network TV through June 2004, about the same amount it spent in all of 2003.