Gap’s Andrew to Exit; Company Launches Search for Successor

LOS ANGELES Kyle Andrew, vp of marketing for the Gap brand, is parting with the San Francisco-based company, the client has confirmed. A Gap rep said she was “pursuing other opportunities.” Andrew, who had been with the retail giant for five years, could not be reached for comment. The company has begun a search for a new head of marketing; Andrew is staying until Jan. 26, the rep said. Laird + Partners in New York is lead creative shop on Gap. Recent campaigns include the well-known Audrey Hepburn “skinny black pants” commercial (with AC/DC’s “Back in Black”) and sports with Missy Elliot and Sarah Jessica Parker.

American Legacy Foundation Begins Media Buying Review

BOSTON The American Legacy Foundation said it has hired consultancy Pile and Co. here to conduct a review of its media buying chores. And a client representative confirmed that a competition for creative duties would follow, though no timetable has been set for that contest, which could still be months away from a start date. The buying assignment has been handled by Media Head in New York for the past four years. Media Head, an independent, succeeded Havas-owned MPG on the business in early 2003. Media Head will defend, according to a rep at Pile. “It is customary for us to periodically assess the work of our agencies through competitive reviews and this is what we are doing now with our media buying function,” said Eric Asche, Legacy’s svp, marketing.

Warner Bros. ‘Hardly News’ To Debut on A-B’s Bud.TV

NEW YORK Four months after launching, Warner Bros. Television Group’s Studio 2.0 will release its first series, a comedy news game titled Hardly News. Jointly produced with WBTG’s Telepictures Productions, the 8-10-minute show will run on Anheuser-Busch’s new broadband video network, Bud.TV. Both properties make their debuts Feb. 5. The 13 episodes of Hardly News will lampoon current and archival footage in topics including pop culture, celebrity gossip and politics, and challenge users to answer tongue-in-cheek questions from their keyboards. Studio 2.0, which creates ad-sponsored content for mobile and broadband, has roughly a dozen short-form animated and live-action shows in development, according to its svp, creative affairs and production Rich Rosenthal.

7 Semifinalists Line Up For Visits From Volvo

NEW YORK Volvo executives are set to begin chemistry checks this week with the seven semi-finalists pursuing its estimated $150 global account, sources said. The 16-year lead incumbent, Havas’ Euro RSCG, is defending. Others in the hunt are Havas’ Arnold; Publicis’ Fallon; WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather; independents M&C Saatchi and StrawberryFrog; and Omnicom’s 180. WPP’s JWT made the cut but is not participating. Sources said the client will visit both U.S. and overseas offices of the contenders and make a cut to four finalists early next month. Final pitches are scheduled for March. Executives at the agencies either declined comment or referred calls to the client, which also declined comment.

Publicis Worldwide Adds Overseas Biz From Renault

NEW YORK Publicis Worldwide expanded its relationship with Renault last week in overseas markets, picking up the account in parts of Latin America and Central Europe, the agency said. It now handles the automaker in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which is 49-percent backed by holding company Publicis Groupe, won the account in Brazil. IPG’s Lowe had handled the client in Latin America previously. The agency network now handles Renault in 48 countries. Renault’s car brands include Clio, Laguna, Megane, Modus, Logan, Espace, Twingo and Scenic.

Merkley, Riney, Indie Share $40 Mil. in Pinnacle Foods

San francisco Pinnacle Foods has divvied up its estimated $40 million in business to Publicis & Hal Riney, IPG’s Merkley + Partners, and Nelson Henry after a review. Merkley in New York was named lead agency for Duncan Hines, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Aunt Jemima brands, with $25 million in billings, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Riney in San Francisco landed the Hungry Man, Vlasic, Van de Kamps and Mrs. Paul’s brands, with spending at $10 million, per Nielsen. Independent Nelson Henry, Minneapolis, won Armour Meats and Lender’s Bagels, at $5 million in spending. Omnicom’s PHD handles media. Contenders included incumbent Fogarty Klein Monroe, in Houston.

TracFone Wireless Names Droga5 Creative Agency

NEW YORK Publicis Groupe-backed Droga5 has been named the creative agency for TracFone Wireless, a pre-paid cell phone provider that is a subsidiary of America Movil, the client confirmed. Creative has been handled in-house for the past 18 months. Offline and online media buying plus search marketing remain with Aegis Group’s Carat, which was appointed in mid-2006. The telecom spent $25 million in measured media in the first 10 months of 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Voight, High Join ‘Adweek’ In Editorial Roles

NEW YORK Adweek has made two staff additions. Joan Voight has returned to Adweek as a senior writer based in San Francisco after five years of freelance writing. Voight, who will write and report stories focusing on client strategy and digital marketing, has contributed to Adweek in various capacities for more than a decade, first as San Francisco Bureau Chief and most recently as a contributing editor. Kamau High has joined the New York editorial staff as creative reporter, writing and reporting industry news. Previously, he was at the Financial Times, where he covered the video game industry.

Retailer Initiates $100 Mil.+ Buying, Planning Review

NEW YORK Office-supply giant Staples has put its $100 million-plus media buying and planning account into review, the client has confirmed. The in-cumbent is WPP’s MediaCom here, which will defend. Framingham, Mass.-based Staples reviewed its media account five years ago, when MediaCom initially added the business. Creative chores, handled by IPG’s McCann Erickson, are not being reviewed.