Schwab Considers 3 Shops For $100 Mil. Media Account

NEW YORK Charles Schwab is talking to at least three agencies about media chores on its estimated $100 million ad account, sources said. According to sources, those shops are Havas’ Media Planning Group and Omnicom’s PHD, both in New York, and independent RPA in Santa Monica, Calif. PHD handles Schwab’s media planning and print buying; RPA handles its TV buying. After a separate review conducted three months ago, Schwab moved creative chores from Omnicom’s GSD&M to Havas’ Euro RSCG. The San Francisco-based discount broker is considering a consolidation of media at a single agency, said sources. Presentations began last week. The agencies and the client declined to comment.

Contenders to Make Final Cases In $300 Mil. Intel Review

LOS ANGELES Contenders in Intel’s $300 million global review make their final presentations this week at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based client. The McCann-led IPG team pitches on Tuesday, while WPP’s Team Intel—which is anchored by Berlin Cameron/Red Cell and Young & Rubicam—pitches on Wednesday and Omnicom’s DDB-led entry goes on Thursday. A decision is due next month. The client parted with Havas’ Euro RSCG, New York, in January. Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the process.

Payless Trims Contender List In $60 Mil. Creative Search

NEW YORK Payless ShoeSource chose three finalists last week to pitch the creative portion of its $60 million ad account, according to Joanne Davis Consulting, which is overseeing the review process. Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, Omnicom’s Martin/ Williams in Minneapolis and independent Chicago shop Cramer-Krasselt will make final presentations in late March. A decision is due in early April. Omnicom’s BBDO in Chicago, its San Francisco sibling Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, and Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York were cut. The Topeka, Kan., client split with independent Barkley Evergreen & Partners in Kansas City, Mo., in early January. Media duties, currently at WPP’s Mediaedge:cia, are not in play.

KitchenAid Meets With Shops About $20 Mil. Ad Account

CHICAGO A KitchenAid client executive characterized meetings between company and agency officials as informal and “not part of a review.” However, Brian Maynard, director of integrated marketing for the Benton Harbor, Mich., company, confirmed that executives had met with a handful of agencies about its $20 million account, currently at Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in New York. He would not specify how many agencies were involved or provide a timeline. Saatchi has handled the account since 2002, when it inherited the brand from sister shop The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York. KitchenAid, owned by Whirlpool, spent slightly more than $20 million on measured media in 2004, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Lowe’s Wright Reassigns Chiefs As Part of ’36-Month Plan’

NEW YORK Lowe worldwide CEO Tony Wright last week outlined his vision for the IPG shop, putting a focus on 11 key offices and Lowe Healthcare and eliminating three regional and two global posts. In addition, Wright reassigned former regional chiefs Ian Creasey, Peter Minnium and Nigel Gilbert to new roles. Creasey became president of Lowe Activation, Minnium was named managing director of network development and Gilbert became chairman and CEO of Lowe’s Southeast and North Asia operations. The moves will put more power in the hands of key office leaders as well as Wright, who replaced Jerry Judge in November. “We have a 36-month plan,” said Wright. “It cannot by definition be done overnight. This is not a situation where you walk in, hire four people and turn it around. This is much more complicated.”

Mono Lands Creative Duties on USA Networks’ $20 Mil. Account

CHICAGO MDC-backed mono in Minneapolis will create a brand campaign for USA Networks in advance of a slate of original programming expected to run on the cable channel later this year. The agency picked up the assignment after a review that included independent shops Modernista! in Boston, and New York agencies StrawberryFrog and Taxi. Billings were not disclosed, but the network spent about $20 million on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. USA becomes the fourth client for the year-old agency, behind Airstream trailers, Sesame Workshop and furniture company Blu Dot. The first work for the network is expected in the third quarter.

Novartis Hands $15 Mil. Benefiber Work to Euro RSCG

LOS ANGELES Novartis has made a roster-shop switch of its Benefiber fiber supplement to Havas’ Euro RSCG from Grey, both in New York, without a review, sources said. The company spent about $15 million on ads for Benefiber last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, but is expected to double that figure as it introduces new line extensions, sources said. Launched three years ago, Benefiber competes with brands such as Procter & Gamble’s Metamucil and GlaxoSmithKline’s Citrucel. Euro also handles Novartis’ Nicotinell smoking cessation brand, and its healthcare subsidiary, Euro RSCG Life, handles global medical education and various brands, including Ritalin. Grey continues to handle Novartis brands such as Ciba Vision, Ex-Lax and Maalox. The client could not be reached.

‘Sahara’ Finds Placement Oasis With Jeep, Ray-Ban

NEW YORK Matthew McConaughey will romp through the desert in the April 8 release Sahara with help from Ray-Ban and Jeep, the two tie-in partners for the Paramount film. The movie will get in-store support and a possible sweepstakes from Ray-Ban and TV and print from Chrysler’s Jeep brand. Chrysler worked with Paramount on 2003’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life to promote its Wrangler Rubicon. Sahara features Jeep Grand Cherokees and the Wrangler Unlimited. Ray-Ban will outfit McConaughey with its Titanium Classic. Co-stars Steve Zahn and Penelope Cruz will sport Predator Shot Extreme shades and New Aviator sunglasses, respectively. Meanwhile, Chrysler also has its 300C sedan and Pacifica in Warner Brothers’ The Wrong Element, a thriller starring Harrison Ford.