M&C Saatchi Defeats Riney For Creative of $30 Mil. Petco

LOS ANGELES Petco has confirmed the appointment of independent M&C Saatchi as its lead creative agency following a review. Estimated billings are $30 million. In the final round of the competition launched in May, M&C Saatchi, Santa Monica, Calif., beat Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, sources said. The search was conducted without the input of a CMO, as Stan Latacha, Petco’s vp of marketing, had left prior to the start of the search and has not yet been replaced. The Phelps Group in Los Angeles was the creative incumbent, but was eliminated, along with undisclosed others, during the semifinal round, per sources. Media duties, handled by Aegis Group’s Carat, were not in review. The San Diego-based operator of some 800 pet stores spent $30 million on domestic ads in 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. A company rep said that the company buyout reported late last week would not affect marketing strategy.

Colby, Cole + Weber United, MMB Compete for Jiffy Lube

NEW YORK Shell’s Jiffy Lube has selected three finalists to pitch the creative portion of its estimated $25 million ad account: Dentsu’s Colby & Partners, Los Angeles; WPP’s Cole + Weber United, Seattle; and the Boston incumbent, independent MMB, sources said. Final presentations are set for early August, with a decision expected shortly thereafter. The Houston-based client chose the trio after visiting a handful of shops last month, sources said. Media planning and buying, at WPP’s MediaCom and Maxus, respectively, are not in play. MMB has handled creative since 2001. Its most recent TV, radio, print and online work that broke in April features customer testimonials and continues to use the tag, “Well-oiled machine.” Ad spending amounted to nearly $20 million last year, on par with 2004 but down considerably from 2003, when the total exceeded $30 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Roth Associates is the New York consultancy managing the review.

Citibank Cuts to 4 Finalists In Direct Marketing Search

NEW YORK Citibank has narrowed its search for a direct marketing agency on its U.S. credit card business to four finalists and planned to hear presentations last week, sources said. Havas’ Euro RSCG DRTV in Chicago and three New York shops—IPG’s Draft FCB, WPP’s Grey Direct and roster shop Wunderman, a unit of WPP’s Young & Rubicam Brands—are vying for the account, sources said. The work is currently split among more than 20 shops. The bulk of the account, which has estimated annual revenue of $20 million, is handled by Wunderman. The review began in February. Other roster shops handle specific tasks tied to cross-promotional deals, such as Citi’s myriad partnerships with other brands, said a source. The Long Island City, N.Y., client is said to be looking to consolidate the business at one or two agencies, and sources said a decision is expected by the end of this month. Executives at the agencies either could not be reached for comment or referred calls to the client, where representatives were not immediately available.

Samuel Thurm, ‘Branch Rickey Of Nighttime TV,’ Dies at 88

WASHINGTON Samuel Thurm, an ad executive perhaps best known for his stint as media director at Lever Brothers, where he worked on TV shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best, died Monday in Princeton, N.J., after a long illness. He was 88. Following a stint at Young & Rubicam, Thurm went to Lever, where he rose to vp of advertising. There he was credited with taking the lead in casting black, Asians and other minorities in national ad campaigns. A Newsweek article described him as the “Branch Rickey of nighttime television.” (Rickey was a baseball exec credited with helping to integrate the Major Leagues.) Thurm served as chairman of the Association of National Advertisers, the American Advertising Federation and the Advertising Research Foundation. He was also vice chairman of the Ad Council. He is survived by his wife Arlene and two sons, Andrew of Princeton and Allen of L.A.

Ogilvy Hires Scott to Direct Branded Content Ventures

NEW YORK Ogilvy & Mather has tapped Doug Scott, former svp at IPG’s Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, to fill the new post of executive director of branded content and entertainment. Scott, 37, will develop “original content platforms” for the WPP shop’s clients, which include American Express, IBM and Morgan Stanley. The platforms will range from feature films, TV shows and Web-based and broadband programming to mobile messaging, live events and games, Scott said. He will be based in New York but work across all of the shop’s North American offices and units, including OgilvyInteractive, Neo@Ogilvy and the Digital Innovation Group, the agency said. Scott, who reports to Ogilvy New York managing director Andy Berndt, worked at PR and entertainment marketing agency BNC, where he also was gm of the New York office.

ABC Is Ready to Change Commercial Ratings Game

NEW YORK ABC sales president Mike Shaw said his department is ready to begin selling based on commercial ratings if any media agencies or advertisers want to start buying that way. “We have the software and our system is in place,” Shaw said. “We can sell show by show, daypart by daypart, whatever the client wants.” Nielsen Media Research, owned by Adweek parent VNU, will begin offering syndicated data on commercial ratings to the industry at the beginning of the new TV season this fall. It is likely that commercial ratings, rather than program ratings, will become the currency on which media agencies make their upfront buys next May. But Shaw said he could accommodate any buyer who wants to use the commercial ratings currency right now for scatter buys, even before Nielsen begins releasing its data. Shaw said shifting to commercial ratings will end the debate over which program ratings—live, live plus same day, or live plus seven day—should be used as the negotiating currency. In the aftermath of the debate over which program ratings should have been used in the just completed broadcast upfront, Shaw said be believes the broadcast networks should create an association, much like the Television Bureau of Advertising, which represents TV stations, or the Syndicated Network Television Association, which represents the TV studios, that can serve as a forum for the discussion of such issues. “This was not an ABC issue,” Shaw said of the debate over which program rating currency to use. “This was an industry issue.”

In New MLB Lineup, Fox Lets Divisional Playoffs Go to TBS

NEW YORK Fox has renewed its Major League Baseball TV rights deal through 2013, expanding its Saturday telecasts, keeping the All-Star Game and the World Series, and retaining the American and National League Championship Series in alternating years. MLB is still negotiating with unnamed networks for the ALCS and NLCS games in the other alternating years, with NBC and CBS both said to be interested. Fox will pay about $250 million annually for its new package, considerably less than the $415 million per year it paid under its previous deal, but it gave up the American and National League Divisional Series games, in addition to the ALCS and NLCS games in alternating years. MLB will make up those dollars in a package it sold to Turner Broadcasting System, although the amount paid was unclear. Some sources said it could be in the $150 million range. The ALDS and NLDS games were picked up by Turner, which plans to air those games on its TBS cable net. If there are overlapping games, Turner’s TNT will pick up some of the telecasts. TBS also gets 26 regular season Sunday afternoon games, a new package created by MLB. Those games will be exclusive to TBS and blacked out in local markets. This new deal dissolves the current Turner-MLB contract that allowed TBS to carry regular season Atlanta Braves games nationally. Under the new deal, TBS will air 70 Braves games nationally in 2007, then beginning in 2008 through 2013, TBS will air 45 games on WTBS in Atlanta only. In 2007, Turner will start airing the All-Star Game selection show, which aired on ESPN under the current rights deal. Under the new pact, Fox will air ALCS games in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, and NLCS games in 2008, 2010 and 2012. Fox passed on the divisional series games because of lower ratings and because airing so many games during the month of October was disrupting its prime-time schedule. ESPN, which last year renewed its regular season MLB package for $295 million per year, including its exclusive Sunday night games, was outbid by Turner for the divisional games, and is not expected to make a serious bid for the remaining ALCS and NLCS lineup, which MLB would rather see on a broadcast net.

Wieden Hires DDB CCO As

CHICAGO Michael Folino, who less than a year ago joined Omnicom Group’s DDB as chief creative officer in Chicago, is leaving the agency for a position at Wieden + Kennedy. Wieden said he will serve as a creative director on the agency’s Nike assignment. “He loves writing and he wants to be closer to that,” said DDB Chicago CEO and president Dana Anderson. “An opportunity came up for him there. We sat and we talked about it, and decided this was something he really wanted to do.” Folino’s successor has not been determined, Anderson said. She said she was heading to New York this week to discuss the position with DDB Worldwide chief creative officer Bob Scarpelli, who for a time served as both Chicago and North American CCO. It was likely the agency would consider both internal and external candidates for the post, Anderson said. DDB hired Folino, 42, last December to oversee about 130 creative personnel who handle some of the network’s showcase accounts, including Anhueser-Busch and McDonald’s. He had previously been chief creative officer at independent agency Dailey & Associates in Los Angeles. Folino has also worked for TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., Fallon in Los Angeles and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore. Because of his stint at Dailey, Folino was seen as a key member of DDB’s pitch team for Safeway’s $250 million account. (The business had previously been with Dailey.) Anderson said the client had been notified of Folino’s imminent departure and that the agency would “continue moving forward” in the pitch.