Omnicom Talking to 180 About A Minority Stake

NEW YORK Omnicom is in talks to acquire a minority stake in creative hot shop 180, sources said. If a deal is struck, it will end years of flirtation between the two. The Amsterdam-based 180 shares global creative duties on Adidas with Omnicom’s TBWA and last year joined Motorola’s global roster. In March, Motorola struck an agreement with Omnicom under which agencies such as BBDO, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Siegel + Gale will work on the brand globally, with BBDO functioning as the “central coordinating agency.” Sources said that Omnicom has been eyeing 180 since late 2001, when the agency teamed up with TBWA to win the estimated $100 million Adidas account. Omnicom and 180 could not be reached on Friday.

Mass Merchant Awaits Agency Responses in $570 Mil. Review

NEW YORK The RFP in Wal-Mart’s $570 million creative and media review is due back today, said sources. The document was distributed two weeks ago to about 15 agencies, including IPG’s Draft FCB Group, Chicago, Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., Lowe, New York, and Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis; Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., and Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis; independent Doner, Southfield, Mich.; Havas’ Euro RSCG, New York, and Arnold, Boston; WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather, JWT and Berlin Cameron United, all New York; and Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and Leo Burnett, Chicago, said sources. Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., is managing the review; Accenture is assisting on the media portion. The Bentonville, Ark., retailer also plans to review its minority marketing assignments.

Focus Media Execs Convicted Of Defrauding Sears, Universal

LOS ANGELES Ex-Focus Media executives Thomas Rubin and Thomas Sullivan as well as their attorney were convicted here last week for conspiracy to defraud in connection with a 1999 case involving Focus clients Sears and Universal Studios, the district attorney’s office said. Rubin, former chairman and CEO, and Sullivan, the now-bankrupt shop’s CFO, were found guilty of using client media dollars for personal gain. They were convicted of 52 combined counts of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering. Rubin faces “several hundred years” in prison and Sullivan faces “a lengthy prison term,” per the D.A. Sentencing is set for Oct. 2.

Wyeth Labs Narrows Field In $45 Mil. Centrum Contest

NEW YORK Wyeth Laboratories on Friday narrowed the field in the review of creative duties on its estimated $45 million Centrum account, sources said. IPG’s McCann Erickson, Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group and WPP’s Grey, all New York, will pitch again in mid-July, sources said. Not advancing were IPG’s Draft FCB, Chicago, the incumbent, Carrafiello Diehl & Associates, Irvington, N.Y., and an undisclosed shop, sources said. Agencies either could not be reached or referred queries to the Madison, N.J., client, which did not return calls.

PBS Hears From 3 Finalists For Fall Planning, Creative

NEW YORK Three agencies made final presentations on Friday to the Public Broadcasting Service for media planning and creative for its fall prime-time schedule, the client confirmed. A PBS rep identified the shops as independent Olson and MDC-backed Mono, both Minneapolis, and MDC’s Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York. The representative said PBS works with various agencies and has no lead shop. A decision from the Arlington, Va., client will come in mid-July, she said. Media Kitchen in New York handles media buying. PBS spent $20 million in both 2004 and 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

News Roundup

Brian DiLorenzo, 45, will join Omnicom’s BBDO New York as executive director of content, a new post. … Mike Drexler, CEO of Publicis’ Optimedia U.S., will retire this summer after a 40-year media career. Drexler, 67, will be succeeded by Antony Young, 41, CEO of ZenithOptimedia U.K. Group.

L’Oreal Paris Awards Online Account to R/GA

NEW YORK R/GA was tapped as lead global interactive agency for L’Oreal Paris, the client said last week. The IPG shop here will work across categories for the client on its cosmetics, skin care and hair products. L’Oreal Paris said the agency would create interactive brand campaigns, Web sites and customer management programs, as well as mobile marketing and interactive TV efforts. The firm’s domestic online spend last year was $7 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. R/GA prevailed over undisclosed contenders in a review to win the assignment.

Insurer to Pick Semifinalists In $150-200 Mil. Review

NEW YORK Progressive Corp. this week is expected to cut to six agencies in the creative review of its $150-200 million account, sources said. Contenders will be culled from nine shops that received RFPs this month [Adweek Online, June 2]. Client executives will then visit the agencies before picking a handful of finalists. The incumbent, independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., is not defending. New York consultancy Roth Associates is managing the process.