News Wire

Grey Disputes Barilla on Controversial Ad
NEW YORK–Grey Advertising, which was dismissed last week by Parma, Italy-based pasta company Barilla on its estimated $40 million global ad account, has fired back. The client was angered by a political ad it claimed was created by Grey’s Turkish affiliate, which Barilla believed had defamed Italian pasta. A Grey representative here denied the agency’s involvement with the ad in question, citing a case of mistaken identity. It was undetermined at press time whether the client would start a review to find a new shop. Barilla executives could not be reached for comment.
TN Seeks Publicis Arbitration
CHICAGO–True North Communications said it has submitted its dispute over valuation of its 26.5 percent share of Publicis Communication to the London Court of International Arbitration. The company, however, said it would not file suit to block Publicis S.A. from absorbing the Publicis Communication unit, a move TN claims could result in a $30 million paper loss [Adweek, Nov. 30]. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of the last chapter of a very bad book: The tortured saga of True North and Publicis,” TN chief executive officer Bruce Mason said in a statement.
Analyst Sees Growth in Ad Sector
NEW YORK–Robert J. Coen, senior vice president, forecasting at McCann-Erickson, predicted that U.S. ad spending will continue to grow next year, although a slowdown in expansion seems overdue. “We expect advertising to again exceed nominal GDP growth, with U.S. advertising rising 5.5 percent to $212 billion in 1999,” he said at last week’s Paine Webber Media Outlook Conference here. While noting the dangers of a recession in many parts of Asia, Coen also forecast that overseas ad spending would gain 3.5 percent, to $223.9 billion. Coen expects global growth to jump 4.5 percent, to more than $435 billion in 1999.
MediaCom Snares USA Media
NEW YORK–Grey Advertising’s MediaCom in New York has been given the media assignment for USA Network, following a review. This follows the client’s decision to bring all creative duties in-house in 1999 after splitting with Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis. The budget was estimated at $30 million. The other finalists were Creative Media, KSL Media, SFM Media and Western International Media, sources said.
Sloves to Retire From Lowe
NEW YORK–Madison Avenue fixture Marvin Sloves will retire as co-chairman of Lowe & Partners/SMS, effective at year-end. As expected, Sloves will consult for the New York agency, primarily on its Mercedes-Benz relationship. Lee Garfinkel assumes the sole role of chairman and chief creative officer of the New York agency, a part of London-based The Lowe Group. There are no immediate plans to add Garfinkel’s name to the agency’s door, a representative said.
TBWA International Flicks Its Bic
NEW YORK–Sociƒtƒ BIC S.A. has selected TBWA International to develop global advertising for Bic pens, lighters and shavers. Billings were estimated at $45 million. TBWA bested Grey Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather. The global approach represents a shift for the Paris-based client, which has a U.S. operation in Milford, Conn. TBWA will service the account via TBWA/ Chiat/Day, New York, and TBWA BDDP in Paris.
Newswire Roundup
Office Depot, Delray Beach, Fla., tapped DeVito/ Verdi, New York, to handle its $40 million account. The decision followed a review that included Wyse Advertising in Cleveland, which had the business since October 1997, and McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C. J. Walter Thompson, New York, has won the creative portion of the estimated $15 million-plus North American Ragœ pasta sauce account, previously handled by Ammirati Puris Lintas. The review also included roster shop Ogilvy & Mather. Ragœ is marketed by Unilever’s Lipton Foods unit Penske Auto Centers in Troy, Mich., has moved its $8 million national media buying assignment to Smith Advertising, Westwood, Kan., from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis. CME retains creative responsibilities, sources said. Smith receently resigned the Jiffy Lube business Swatch USA has tapped SFM Media in New York to handle media planning and buying. Billings are between $6-7 million, but expected to rise next year. PGR Media, Providence, R.I., had handled The Lord Group, New York, has landed creative and media duties for the United Services Automobile Association, an insurance and financial services company in San Antonio after a review. Billings were undisclosed Fruit of the Loom has officially handed its $5 million Gitano jeans account to Warwick Baker O’Neill, in New York [Adweek, Feb. 16]. It was at Mullen in Wenham, Mass. Virtual Vineyards, Palo Alto, Calif., awarded its estimated $2-3 million ad account to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West following a review that also included incumbent and fellow San Francisco shop Left Field, sources said McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., will create a 30-second spot for the Super Bowl for The shop was hired by the Internet job search service after Fox Broadcasting rejected a proposed ad created by Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos. Hill, Holliday said it resigned after learning the client was soliciting creative concepts from outsiders, including McCann.