Masterfoods Awards Another Candy Account to TBWA\C\D

NEW YORK Masterfoods USA confirmed on Friday that it has expanded its relationship with TBWA\Chiat\Day, awarding its estimated $40 million Snickers creative account to the New York shop. TBWA\C\D already handles Skittles, Starburst and other brands. The win came after a shootout against two other roster agencies: sibling and 11-year incumbent BBDO in New York and independent Nitro. BBDO retains Snickers Marathon, a sports/energy bar, and it continues to handle Masterfoods’ M&Ms and Milky Way accounts. TBWA\C\D’s pitch was led by ecd Gerry Graf (a former creative director at BBDO who worked on the brand there) and executive group account director Lisa Liebman, who manages the shop’s other Masterfoods business. Snickers is the New York office’s first win since Robert LePlae took over as North American president in September. Snickers’ current campaign from BBDO is tagged, “Hungry? Grab a Snickers.”

Comcast Narrows $100 Mil. Media Review to 3 Finalists

New York Comcast has narrowed its media review to three finalists: Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest, Omnicom’s PHD and Aegis Group’s Carat, according to sources. Final presentations are expected within the next two or three weeks, with a decision shortly afterward, sources said. The review covers the estimated $100 million corporate account. Comcast spends another $180 million (per Nielsen Monitor-Plus) at regional and local levels that is not part of the review. Pile & Co. is managing the search. Client, agency and consultancy executives declined comment.

Universal McCann Consolidates Emerging Media, Online Units

New York IPG’s Universal McCann this week will announce that it has reorganized its online and emerging media fields into one digital communications unit. In the U.S., it will be overseen by David Cohen as U.S. director of digital communications, reporting to UM U.S. president Mary Gerzema. Previously, Cohen had been svp of UM Interactive in New York, where he integrated clients’ Internet plans into their overall ad strategies. In his new post, he will oversee the integration of all new and emerging media, including broadband, wireless, video-on-demand and gaming platforms. A similar reorganization has been put into place for UM’s European region, with Asia to follow. Cohen and his global counterparts will work closely with Brant Breen, who joined IPG at the beginning of the year as evp and director of strategic development and innovation.

WPP Italian COO Files Libel Suit Against U.K. ‘Sunday Times’

NEW YORK Daniela Weber, the chief operating officer of WPP’s Italian operations, is suing The Sunday Times (U.K.) for libel after printing allegations that she had a relationship with Marco Benatti, the former country manager fired in January after alleged involvement in financial irregularities and breach of contract, sources said. Weber, based in Milan, cites two articles published in January and February claiming damages and false privacy. On Sunday, March 5, the Times printed an apology for the claims and for “the distress and embarrassment caused.” But Weber, who is suing as an individual, is pursuing her case. Weber and legal representatives for the Times could not be reached.

News Roundup

Arnold last week set the stage for the eventual retirement of longtime head Ed Eskandarian, who turned over the U.S. CEO title to president and COO Fran Kelly. Eskandarian, 69, will remain chairman and CEO of the Arnold Worldwide Partners umbrella company. Arnold creative chief Ron Lawner was named vice chairman and global chief creative officer, a new position. Pam Hamlin and Pete Favat have been tasked with running the Boston headquarters, with Hamlin as president and Favat as chief creative officer. John Staffen, executive creative director, New York, becomes chief creative officer of that office. … Margeotes Fertitta Powell in New York has split with Radisson Seven Seas cruises after a little more than a year on the business, the client confirmed. The client spent about $5 million in 2005, per Nielsen. Ken Watson, client evp of sales and marketing, said the split was a “mutual decision,” and that the company has not yet determined if it would conduct an agency search.