McCann Erickson Loses Reckitt And Gillette in a Single Week

NEW YORK IPG’s McCann Erickson last week lost two clients due in part to client conflicts. Procter & Gamble on Friday confirmed it had shifted Gillette business in India, China and Russia (with estimated combined billings of $20 million) from McCann to Omnicom’s BBDO, Gillette’s lead U.S. agency. McCann handled the Gillette business prior to P&G’s acquisition of the company last year, which set up a conflict with McCann’s global L’Oréal account. A P&G representative, however, said the company intended to consolidate the work under a single global shop. Also last week, sources said McCann’s London office had begun a 90-day wind-down period with Reckitt Benckiser, due to a conflict with S.C. Johnson, handled by IPG sibling Foote Cone & Belding [Adweek Online, May 18].

More Meetings Slated for Sara Lee’s $25 Mil. Hillshire Farm

NEW YORK Omnicom shops Element 79 in Chicago and TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., are still competing to handle creative duties on Sara Lee’s $25 million Hillshire Farm brand, two weeks after the client awarded $35 million in creative duties on Sara Lee breads and deli meats to TBWA\C\D, sources said. Another round of presentations is slated for late May, with a decision expected shortly thereafter. A client representative confirmed that Hillshire Farm has yet to be assigned. Element 79 is the incumbent.

Smith Barney Hears Finals For $20 Mil. Creative Account

NEW YORK Smith Barney is poised to select an agency for its $20 million creative account, which had been at Omnicom’s Merkley + Partners. IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston and New York, its sibling McCann Erickson in New York and Publicis’ Fallon in Minneapolis completed final presentations to the New York client last week, according to sources. Merkley split with the client and did not participate, said sources. Execs at the agencies either could not be reached or referred calls to the client, which declined comment. New York consultant Joanne Davis is handling compensation but did not conduct the search, sources said; Davis did not return calls.

Wal-Mart Taps SRI to Conduct $570 Mil. Creative Review

DALLAS Wal-Mart has hired Select Resources International of Santa Monica, Calif., to handle its search for one or more new creative agencies, a Wal-Mart representative confirmed. With ad spend of $570 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer is conducting its first full agency review in 30 years. Incumbent Bernstein-Rein of Kansas City, Mo., has worked for the client for 30 years and Omnicom’s GSD&M of Austin, Texas, has produced creative for 19 years. Both agencies are defending the account. Wal-Mart is also searching for media and Hispanic shops. Wal-Mart hired former Frito-Lay CMO Stephen Quinn as svp of marketing in September, six months after naming former Target executive John Fleming as CMO to replace the retiring Bob Connolly. Wal-Mart of late has given its print and television ads a more upscale look in an effort to move away from its price-oriented messages. The most recent work, launched in February, introduced “Look beyond the basics” as a tagline.

Grey San Francisco Brings Bentley Aboard as EVP/ECD

LOS ANGELES Roger Bentley has been tapped as evp/ecd for WPP’s Grey San Francisco, the agency has confirmed. Bentley, who has worked on such brands as Mercedes-Benz, UPS, Burger King and Nike during a career that spans Wieden + Kennedy, Hill Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Ammirati Puris Lintas and Merkley + Partners, replaces co-ecds Kevin McCarthy, who left for Young & Rubicam/Wunderman, S.F., in February, and Jeff Shattuck, who remains as a cd. Bentley’s hire completes the power shift that makes the S.F. office Grey’s California flagship. The L.A. agency was recently merged into a smaller unit in Burbank called G2 Direct and Digital Grey Worldwide, and all offices were put under S.F. chief Betsy Sperry, managing director of Grey West, to whom Bentley reports.

Kerry Requests Accounting of Fed’s Minority Ad Spending

WASHINGTON Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether minority-owned businesses are getting their fair share of federal ad contracts. Kerry, who says he has received complaints from minority newspaper publishers, wants the GAO to examine how well the government has done in placing ads in minority media that targets ethnic audiences following an executive order signed by former President Bill Clinton in 2000. The order directed federal agencies to expand contracting opportunties by increasing the federal ad dollars awarded to small and minority-owned businesses. Kerry wants to know which federal agencies have developed strategies to comply with the order, how much taxpayer money has been spent on advertising from 2001-2005, and what percentage of that money went to small and minority-owned firms.