National News Roundup

New York
McCann Steals Sprint from JWT
By Hank Kim

McCann-Erickson and J. Walter Thompson swapped a couple of accounts last Friday, leaving the former with the better end of the deal.
Sprint shifted its estimated $150 million consumer account from JWT in San Francisco to McCann here, while JWT in Chicago was awarded McCann’s $20-30 million in Nabisco crackers business. JWT in New York retains Sprint’s broadcast media buying.
JWT had been fighting speculation that the account was in danger. An agency representative denied reports the San Francisco office would be closed, but confirmed there will be layoffs as a result of the shift. Sprint accounted for more than half of that office’s $250 million in billings.
McCann had been introduced to Sprint by fellow Interpublic Group of Cos. unit Draft Worldwide, which handles direct duties for the client, sources said. McCann was given a TV project for the Sprint Sense Anytime caller program, set to break soon. Sprint was impressed by the effort as well as McCann’s work on AT&T, an account it lost last year.
“Sprint’s decision is reflective of this agency’s knack for getting business based on ideas and the strength of our creative work for other clients,” said Donald Dillon, North American chief executive.
As for Nabisco, McCann had handled crackers for 12 years. JWT will now take over all duties on such brands as Ritz, Triscuit, and Air Crisps. The move reunites JWT with chief executive James Kilts, who worked at longtime agency client Kraft Foods. Separately, Nabisco’s $8 million A-1 steak sauce account is moving to Foote, Cone & Belding here, which handles cookies. –with staff reports

Courts Side With Tobacco Again
By David Gianatasio
Yet another local court has quashed tobacco advertising restrictions, a decision that could affect similar cases now being litigated in New York and Tacoma, Wash.
U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions in Burlington, Vt., last week threw out a recently-enacted City Council ordinance banning tobacco ad signs within 1,000 feet of schools and prohibiting cigarette promotions at athletic, musical and artistic events. Point-of-purchase materials were also covered in the law, which was challenged by local store owners.
Sessions’ decision is significant because he asserted the ordinance not only ran afoul of federal statutes, but violated the First Amendment, said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers in Washington, D.C., which has opposed restrictions on tobacco and spirits advertising.
“If the reasoning behind this case is accepted by other courts, it places significant limits on what legislatures can do,” Jaffe said.
It was not clear at press time if Burlington will appeal; the mayor’s office did not return calls.
The constitutional basis of the Sessions decision adds weight to the New York and Tacoma cases, in which the ANA seeks to overturn tobacco ad restrictions, Jaffe said. In New York, a trial date is pending.
Dr. Greg Connolly, director of tobacco control initiatives for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said the Vermont ruling may serve as a warning for lawmakers to consider such possible challenges when drafting future measures.
A Chicago ban on outdoor ads for tobacco and alcohol was also overturned, but in that case the right to free speech was not an issue.

New york
Lowe Finds New Planning Head
By Hank Kim
After an extensive search outside of the agency, Lowe & Partners/SMS has looked inward and named Richard Monturo as its new director of strategic planning.
Monturo, 33, previously a senior vice president, strategic planner at the New York agency, becomes executive vice president. He succeeds Stephani Cook, who resigned recently but will work with the shop as a consultant. She joined the agency in 1995 from Publicis/Bloom here.
Monturo will work closely with co-chairman and chief creative officer Lee Garfinkel and vice chairman and executive creative director Gary
Goldsmith. Monturo teamed with Goldsmith on the launch of ESPNews at Goldsmith/Jeffrey, the agency acquired by Lowe in November 1996. Monturo also did earlier stints at Ogilvy & Mather and DDB Needham.
Garfinkel credited Monturo for playing a key role in the agency’s recent new business wins, which include Heineken and Valvoline. “Richard is great in meetings, unlike some planners. As we were doing the search, Gary and I kept wishing we could clone him,” said Garfinkel.
A one-time skating coach in Australia, Monturo’s style is to avoid “strategic pyrotechnics.”
“Sometimes we try to be too elaborate, too academic,” he said. “We need to take the reams of data and distill it into simple, clear insights that can lead to effective advertising.”

los angeles
Ski Resorts
Start Review
By Angela Dawson and Sloane Lucas
After several years of relative inactivity on the ad front, the National Ski Areas Association has launched an agency search for its estimated $20 million account.
The association’s last campaign was created by D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles’ Detroit office in the early 1990s. That effort failed to meet the client’s expectations, said Rick Shoup, principal at The Advice Group, the Sherman Oaks, Calif., consultancy running the search.
“The budget was too small to make a major impact,” Shoup said. “This time around, they’re committing a significant budget in hopes of increasing participation in the sport.”
The Lakewood, Colo.,-based group, which comprises 300 ski resort operators and another 400 ski suppliers in North America, asked approximately 40 agencies from across the country to submit credentials by last Friday. A short list will determined by the end of this week, said Shoup, who has counseled individual ski resorts over the years. A third and possibly fourth round will follow, with a final decision expected by Dec. 5.
Shoup said the association is not restricting its search to ad agencies but is seeking ideas from direct response firms, marketing consultants and others. “We’re asking the best and the brightest for their ideas,” he said.
Some 54 million people visit North American ski resorts each year. The association hopes to boost annual attendance by 12 percent to 60 million with an extensive marketing push over three years, starting with the 1999-2000 winter ski season. The client wants to reach out to non-skiers, as well as encourage active skiers and snowboarders to visit resorts more often.
Among those agencies invited to pitch are TBWA/Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.; Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., Santa Monica, Calif.; and Karsh & Hagan, Denver, Shoup said. It could not be determined at press time which shops had responded to the invitation.

new york
Absolut Bows Cinema Spot
By Andrew McMains
nFour months after airing its first radio spots, Absolut vodka and TBWA/Chiat/Day are dipping their toes into a new advertising medium–cinema.
The New York agency has created a 60-second spot for Absolut, set to break this month in European markets, that unfolds like a trailer for an old Western movie, before revealing itself as an ad, sources said. “Hey Stranger” sketches the story of a rebel drifter in a border town who clashes with the local boss, played by veteran character actor John Saxon.
Along the way, the drifter mixes with local women and carries a mysterious violin case, much like Antonio Banderas’ character in El Mariachi. The spot closes with the drifter opening the case to reveal a prized bottle of Absolut.
Exact spending figures and market specifics were not available. The agency is working on additional theater concepts for the Seagram Americas brand.
Richard Lewis, the agency’s worldwide group account director on Absolut, confirmed one ad had been completed and would appear abroad. He declined further comment.
Carl Horton, vice president of marketing for Absolut at Seagram, did not return calls by press time.
Though Absolut has long relied on its famous print ads, Seagram chief executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. wants to change the perception that alcohol and broadcasting don’t mix. In 1996, Seagram aired a TV spot for Crown Royal whiskey and a radio spot for Lime Twisted Gin. That fall, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States lifted its voluntary ban on broadcast ads. Absolut’s radio spots were Seagram’s latest volley.
While cinema ads for spirits are common overseas, there is less tolerance for them here. Major U.S. theater chains do not accept ads for alcohol, beer or tobacco, although those products often appear prominently in films.
“We went to the exhibitors a couple of years ago very quietly to see if anybody’s attitude had changed,” said Dennis Fogarty, president of Screen Vision Cinema Network, a distributor that sells advertising to more than 100 chains. “Everybody said, ‘No way.'”
The prevailing attitude stems from the fact that a significant portion of U.S. film audiences–even for R-rated movies–fall below the legal drinking age, said Marc Pascucci, vice president of advertising for Loews Cineplex Entertainment in New York. “If you start to accept that type of advertising you get into murky waters,” he said.

new york
By Michael McCarthy
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America has tapped Select Resources International to conduct a top-to-bottom evaluation of its estimated $300 million advertising and marketing budget as well as review all of its agency vendors.
The evaluation by the Los Angeles consultancy comes on the heels of an internal memo from chief operating officer Pierre Gagnon which said results have been “disappointing” and the company needs to improve its sales, customer satisfaction and quality levels.
Peg Dilworth-Hunt, director of marketing communications for the Cypress, Calif.-based car maker, said the study is designed to “look at the whole marketing picture.”
Fallout from the study, said sources, could include one or more new agency searches in the below-the-line marketing area, where Mitsubishi currently spends about $80 million.
The assessment could spell an opportunity for lead agency Deutsch to pick up more business and strengthen its grip on the $140 million factory account, which has still not been finalized, said sources. Deutsch, Marina del Rey, Calif., already has the $80 million dealer ad account and the $65 million Galant launch assignment.
Mitsubishi sees an advantage in integrating its marketing communications into Deutsch’s new “Wake up and drive” campaign, said Dilworth-Hunt. “Our problem in the past is we had six or seven different partners sending out six or seven different messages,” she noted.
She also downplayed the possibility of a review for the factory account, joking that Mitsubishi and Deutsch were “in love.”
The Cypress, Calif.-based client’s other shops include CKS Partners in Portland, Ore., which handles interactive marketing; Direct Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., which handles direct marketing; The Designory in Santa Monica, which handles collateral ads; and Valdes Zacky Associates in Los Angeles, which handles Hispanic marketing.
Executives at those shops did not return calls by press time. –with Teresa Buyikian
and Angela Dawson

new york
Y&R’s Georgescu Rewards Results
By Andrew McMains
The reshuffling of Young & Rubicam’s executive deck last week reflects the shop’s philosophy that business acumen–and not necessarily advertising experience–is the key to running an agency.
That explains why Thomas Bell, a public relations executive in charge of both Burson-Marsteller Worldwide and the Diversified Communications Group, is now chief executive officer and chairman of Y&R Advertising–one of three titles held by holding company heir-apparent Ed Vick.
Bell, 48, is also well liked by chief executive officer Peter Georgescu, sources said, and the new title may be a reward for the profitability of the diversified group, which provides nearly a third of the company’s $1.4 billion in annual revenue.
“It frees me up to do more of the operational stuff for the organization, plus I like [working with] clients,” said Vick, 54, who remains the holding company’s chief operating officer and chief executive of the Y&R/
Wunderman Cato Johnson Partnership.
At the same time, the organization recognized Linda Srere’s ability to land new business and bond with clients such as Citibank and Sears, Roebuck & Co. Srere, 43, president of Y&R’s office here, is now chief client officer and vice chairwoman of the holding company–a title previously held by agency veteran Mitchell Kurz.
Kurz, 46, will likely remain until year-end, after which he plans to pour his energies into three nonprofit agencies for children.
With 1.3 million shares of Y&R stock, Kurz could also become $43 million richer if he decides to cash out. Come November, shareholders will be able to sell stock for the first time since the initial public offering in May. The agency’s stock hovered around $31 a share last week and rose slightly after the management changes were unveiled.
Kurz joins a group of Y&R executives who have recently left or plan to leave the agency, including Fernan Montero, the former chief executive for Europe, and Joe DeDeo, chairman for Latin America.
Srere’s former duties will be absorbed by Peter Stringham, 49, who will remain chairman and chief executive of Y&R North America.
The new chief executive of Burson is Chris Komisarjevsky, 53, previously chief executive of the U.S. division. Burson-Marsteller chairman Graham Phillips, 59, takes the reins of the diversified group.

GM Dealer Shops See Writing on Wall
By Tanya Gazdik
General Motors is planning to remove nearly $1 billion in media buying duties for its dealerships from several dozen agencies and consolidate those tasks at GM Mediaworks, sources said.
Media planning and creative changes could follow, sources added.
The reassignment would give the Warren, Mich., unit of the Interpublic Group of Cos. all of the client’s $3.2 billion in buying duties. GM dealers spent about $977 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.
The consolidation is part of the vast reorganization of GM’s sales, service and marketing structure. Effective Jan. 1, its field marketing staff will be divided into five regions, with 200 marketing teams working with all dealers no matter which GM brands they sell. Currently, each dealer region has separate agencies for each brand.
The consolidation is the brainchild of Ronald Zarrella, vice president and group executive of GM’s North American vehicle sales, service and marketing group.
GM representative Donna Fontana would say only that the client would unveil changes before year’s end. “We have to look at what’s going to be more effective … more efficient … [and] get us the best product,” she said.
All GM dealer agencies received a letter last week instructing them not to make any “long-term media agreements” with a cutoff date of March 31, said sources. An earlier letter instructed shops not to make media buys beyond the fourth quarter.
GM’s dealer agencies range in size. J.W. Messner in Grand Rapids, Mich., for example, depends on Chevrolet for the majority of its business–nearly $100 million. Others, such as Partners & Shevack, New York, or Lois/EJL in Chicago have a majority of non-automotive accounts.
Coupled with a shift of local creative and media planning to GM’s national agencies, the changes would wipe out the role of the dealer shops altogether.
GM’s divisions have conducted reviews over the past two years that whittled the number of dealers from several dozen to a handful of agencies (13 for Chevrolet, 7 for Oldsmobile, for example). Some of those shops reduced new business efforts to concentrate on their GM duties.
GM’s national shops include D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich. (Cadillac and Pontiac); McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich. (Buick); Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York (GMC); Campbell-Ewald Advertising, Warren, Mich. (Chevy); and Leo Burnett, Chicago (Olds). –with Scott Hume

new york
Shares Its Pepsi
By Sloane Lucas
BBDO’s Paris office will take a larger role in creating overseas ads for flagship client Pepsi-Cola in a bid to better tailor creative to foreign markets.
The shift, loosely in effect for several months, was disclosed by CLM/BBDO last week. The change is designed to create “a stronger global advantage that meets the market better” and have regional agencies more involved with regional work, said a Pepsi representative in New York.
The client and BBDO stressed that the New York office, under chairman Phil Dusenberry, will still drive global strategy and ultimately decide which ads are presented to the client. Ads created in New York, when appropriate, will continue to air internationally, as well as spots from key BBDO offices in Mexico, Dubai, Bangkok and Sao Paulo, among others.
The shift of overseas duties to Paris was orchestrated by Massimo d’Amore, marketing officer at Pepsi-Cola International, and Jean-Michel Goudard–president, international of BBDO Worldwide–former cohorts at Procter & Gamble, said sources.
The Paris office recently developed a concept for a strategic marketing initiative with the preliminary tagline, “Pepsi empowers you,” positioning the cola brand as a rite of passage for teens around the globe.
BBDO here, however, rejected the spots, which numbered nearly a dozen, said sources. The ads are being reworked via a collaborative effort of staffers in the U.S., France, Britain, Brazil and Australia.
Goudard could not be reached at press time. Pepsi declined comment on its marketing initiatives.
–with Noreen O’Leary

iXL Eats 2 Agencies For its Boston Shop
By Judy Warner
iXL, one of the nation’s fastest-growing interactive agency networks, last week bought Larry Miller Productions and Spinners Inc., merging them under its iXL Northeast unit. Terms were not disclosed.
The acquisitions give iXL projected 1998 revenues of $80 million, tying it with Omnicom’s for the top spot. Spinners co-founder Nirah Shah becomes president of iXL Boston; Jeff Janer, president of LMP, becomes executive vice president, sales and marketing. Shah and Janer said growth
at their respective companies was restricted by their size and resources. Each entity employs about 35 people.
LMP, with clients such as Stride Rite and Compaq, offers creative talent to Atlanta-based iXL, while Spinners adds commerce and intranet technical services for clients like Merrill Lynch and The New York Timespower brokersThe 50 most powerful women in American business are profiled in Fortune magazine’s Oct. 12 issue, which hits newsstands today, and among those featured are two figures from the ad world.
Ogilvy & Mather chief executive Shelly Lazarus, 51, is ranked fourth, although she told the magazine, “I don’t feel powerful.” Lazarus also talks of the differences between women and men. “Men like to issue orders,” she told Fortune. “They like to feel powerful. I get no thrill out of being powerful.”
Ranked 43rd is Linda Srere, president and chief executive of Young & Rubicam in New York. Srere, 43, was promoted to vice chairman, chief client officer of the shop’s holding compay last week.
The magazine (shown here) chose its top 50 women based on “revenues and profits controlled, influence inside the company, the importance of the business in the global economy and its impact on American culture.” Additionally, “Politics and the nonprofit sector were excluded.”
–Sloane Lucaspriceless humorLeave it to David Letterman to put the current travails of our commander-in-chief in the proper perspective.
On a recent installment of The Late Show, Letterman, with acid tongue firmly in cheek, expressed his disdain for marketers who “cash in on the misfortune” of others.
The skit pokes fun at the McCann-Erickson’s MasterCard campaign, which consists of slice-of-life vignettes such as a father and son at a baseball game. The copy itemizes costs: “Two tickets–$28, two hot dogs–$18 real conversation with 11-year old son–priceless.” All the spots end with the tagline, “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
Letterman’s version (shown here) goes like this: “18 lawyers over 22 months–$2.3 million. Illicit surveillance equipment–$830. Photocopying costs for final report–$12,270. Impeaching the president’s fat, guilty ass–priceless.”
“He made the logo bigger than we do. What a suck-up!” said Nina DiSesa, executive creative director at McCann here.
–Hank KimFCB goes to pieces at 125Foote,Cone & Belding passed the 125-year mark last week. To celebrate the occasion, the third-oldest U.S. agency hired artist Robert Silvers to create one of his unique “photo mosaics,” an image composed of myriad small photographs.
Some 1,302 FCB employees lent their faces to an image
of one of the agency’s founders, Fairfax Cone (shown here). “Robert Silvers was able to mirror how FCB is made of many people from around the world, but still works as a unified agency,” said Brendan Ryan, FCB’s worldwide chairman and chief executive.
Silver’s work, via his Cambridge, Mass., company Runaway Technology, has appeared on movie posters for The Truman Show and graced the covers of Newsweek, Life and Wired magazines.
The Fairfax Cone image was incorporated into a 125th anniversary poster, created by FCB digital designer Tim Letscher, which will now hang in agency offices worldwide. Letscher originally suggested using Silvers’ work.
–Sloane Luca