Retailer Parts with DDB Chicago, Launches DM Search

CHICAGO The Home Depot began a search last week for an agency to handle direct marketing. DDB Chicago has held the account since 2002, but Home Depot said it would not renew its contract with the Omnicom shop. The shop will continue to do projects for the company, the Atlanta-based retailer said. Executives at the agency could not be reached. In a statement, Home Depot wrote it was looking for “agencies whose unique expertise in specific areas will better assist us in reaching our goals.” Home Depot spent $465 million in measured media last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The amount in play could not be immediately determined.

Six Flags Taps MindShare for $75 Mil. U.S. Media Duties

DALLAS WPP’s MindShare won Six Flags’ national media buying business last week following a review, the client said. The assignment had been with independent Southfield, Mich.-based Doner, which is also a contender in a separate review for the company’s creative assignment, sources said. It is competing against a field of undisclosed shops. The Oklahoma City-based client spent $75 million in measured media last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. In January, Six Flags hired WPP’s OgilvyOne to handle direct and interactive marketing. Other contenders in the media review were undisclosed.

Gatfield Will Focus on Business Issues as Lowe Worldwide CEO

NEW YORK As Lowe’s new worldwide CEO, Stephen Gatfield will focus on reshaping the IPG shop’s business model as well as new business development and client management, he said last week. Gatfield, an IPG evp who on Thursday replaced Tony Wright as CEO, will be based in New York, while Wright, who shifted to chairman, will work out of London, as he has for the past year. In a staff e-mail, Wright, 45, wrote he’d split his time between strategic tasks, pitches and clients. Wright could not be reached but in his e-mail described Gatfield as a “close partner and ally.” Meanwhile, Gatfield, 47, wrote, “Tony and I get along extremely well. This isn’t a shotgun marriage. I’m doing this because I believe in the potential that Lowe has to offer.”

Benatti Adds Sorrell to Lawsuit Against WPP, Italian Operations

NEW YORK Ousted WPP Group Italy manager Marco Benatti extended an existing lawsuit against the U.K. company and its Italian operations last week to include WPP CEO Martin Sorrell. Benatti, who sued earlier for wrongful dismissal and damage to his professional reputation, also said he is weighing further legal recourse against Sorrell. A WPP rep said, “The facts will speak for themselves.”

Sirius Puts $30 Mil. Account In Play; Doner is Incumbent

NEW YORK Sirius Satellite Radio will hear pitches this week for its estimated $30 million ad account, sources said. The incumbent, independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., won the business in May 2004 after a review involving IPG’s TM Advertising in Irving, Texas, and Omnicom’s BBDO in Troy, Mich. The New York client added Havas’ Euro RSCG to the roster in October to handle its estimated $10 million campaign for The Howard Stern Show. It could not immediately be determined which agencies are pitching. The client could not be reached.

News Roundup

Havas’ Euro RSCG was a late entry in the finals of Novartis-owned Gerber’s review of its $45 million baby products account, sources said. The New York shop pitched last week at the client’s Parsippany, N.J., headquarters against IPG’s Foote Cone & Belding and WPP’s Grey, both New York, and the incumbent, independent Noble BBDS in Chicago. … Three New York shops are vying for creative duties on an attention deficit disorder drug the U.K.-based Shire is launching in the U.S., sources said. Billings on the new assignment are estimated at $25-30 million. Sources identified contenders as IPG’s McCann Erickson, Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group and Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners. Presentations are slated for mid-March.