Mad Dogs Teeters on Brink of Closure Following Atkins Cuts

New York Mad Dogs & Englishmen, the boutique agency founded by managing partners Robin Hafitz and Nick Cohen, is “up against the wall,” Cohen said last week, following spending cuts by its biggest client, Atkins. (The company spent about $30 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, but has not committed to a 2005 budget, he said.) The agency has already committed to closing its San Francisco office and has told its landlord to put its New York space on the market. “We’re trying to figure out how we can continue based on the business that we have,” Cohen said. The New York office’s 25 staffers now service Atkins, sports clothing line CW-X and Grand Marnier, among others. The agency is also considering the future of Mad Logic, Hafitz’s brand planning operation, and Mad Injection, a spinoff shop that handles projects and is led by Mikal Reich, Cohen said.

4 Finalists To Pitch For $55 Mil. AmEx Financial Advisors Work

NEW YORK American Express Financial Advisors will hear final pitches this week in the review for its estimated $55 million account, sources said. Four shops are competing for the account, including the newly identified Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, sources said. Also vying are Hill Holliday’s IPG sibling McCann Erickson; Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi; and the incumbent, WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather, all in New York. Ogilvy has a pass to the final round, sources said. A decision is due this month. Pile and Co. in Boston is handling the process. The consultant declined to comment, as did the New York client and agency executives.

Havas Asks Shareholders To Deny Bolloré Board Seats

BOSTON Havas on Friday urged shareholders to vote against a request made last week by investor Vincent Bolloré to place himself and three members of his management team on the holding company’s board of directors. In a statement, Havas said its board unanimously recommends the veto because Bolloré has failed to make his long-term intentions clear and has not put forth a plan to increase share value. Havas’ next shareholders meeting is scheduled for June 9. Bolloré, who owns more than 20 percent of Havas, in December said he would seek seats, but he has also said he has no immediate plan to attempt a corporate takeover. Bolloré reps could not be reached. Paris-based Havas owns Arnold and Euro RSCG, among others.

New York State Alleges Internet Company Used Spyware

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed a lawsuit accusing Intermix Media of distributing spyware. The filing alleges that the Los Angeles-based Internet company violated New York unfair business practices law by loading pop-up ad programs on 3.7 million New York Internet users’ computers without their consent when users visited Intermix-owned or operated Web sites. The suit seeks an injunction against Intermix and financial damages. In a statement, Intermix, which operates the MySpace blogging site, said it stopped distributing the programs at issue and would try to settle with Spitzer.

NBA, Toyota Partnership Yields Wisdom From Phil Jackson

LOS ANGELES NBA coach Phil Jackson appears in the first three Toyota-sponsored spots keying off the partnership deal announced in March. The ads break the week of May 9th during the NBA playoffs. Jackson appears to fans, Zen-guru-like, to dispense wisdom. In one, Jackson censures fans for their lack of faith as they pile into a Corolla to beat traffic before a blowout ends. The spots end with the “Moving forward” tag and will run only during NBA games, according to Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif.

News Roundup

Spa and resort chain Canyon Ranch will issue RFPs next week to a half dozen public relations agencies in New York and San Francisco, sources said. The Tucson, Ariz., client spends about $1-2 million annually, sources said. … Jim Beam brands in Lincolnshire, Ill., has put its estimated $15 million media account in review. Pitching are Omincom’s PHD and independents TargetCast and Horizon, all in New York. The incumbent, WPP’s Mediaedge:cia, is not defending. A decision is due by May.