Mccann In Lone Star Contest

Four new contenders, including McCann-Erickson Southwest in Houston, have emerged in a reconfigured review for Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon’s $8-12 million advertising account.
According to sources, the four join Earle Palmer Brown, New York, the only agency remaining from an initial list of shops that was scrapped in April when the client decided to reopen the process.
Other newcomers are: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; and Fallon McElligott and DeVito/Verdi, both New York.
Two other previous contenders–J. Walter Thompson in Chicago and McCann-Erickson’s Seattle office–withdrew from the process. It is believed the client’s current advertising is handled on an in-house basis.
Despite the decision of McCann’s Seattle office to drop out, sources said the client opened talks with the sister office in Houston because of general manager Tony Pace’s experience in the category. Pace worked on the Outback Steakhouse account while at McCann’s New York office.
Though billings were thought to be in the $8-12 million range when the account review began earlier this year, insiders indicated that eventual spending could go as high as $15-20 million. Competitive Media Reporting estimated that Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon spent just over $500,000 on 1997 advertising.
Client representatives and agency executives declined comment.
The client met with agencies last month at its Wichita, Kan., headquarters to rate speculative creative work. Shops were asked to pitch both media and creative duties. The client said those portions might be awarded together or separately.
Lone Star began contacting agencies in January through Southern California consultant Peter Sirkin, said sources. Before the review was reopened, a decision was expected by April 1. –with staff reports