One Up, One Down For Euro RSCG

It was good news, bad news for Havas’ Euro RSCG last week. Novartis selected Euro to handle an estimated $50 million global assignment for its Nicotinell smoking-cessation gum, sources said. But the shop also learned that its $15 million New Balance athletic-shoe creative account is going off the roster at year’s end.

On Nicotinell, Euro RSCG in New York will serve as lead agency, with help from its London office. The pharmaceutical and consumer-health company, based in Basil, Switzerland, markets Nicotinell throughout much of the world but is awaiting FDA approval for the drug in the U.S. Global adspend on the account is estimated to be in the $50-75 million range.

Euro is a Novartis roster shop, handling the Voltaren and Otrivin drugs, among others. It won the Nicotinell business following a review of undisclosed shops (another Novartis agency, Omnicom Group’s DDB Chicago, was involved at one point).

Euro executives referred calls to the client, where a representative would say only, “That’s not something we announce.”

Meanwhile, a rep for Boston-based New Balance confirmed its plan to pull its creative account from Euro at the end of 2004. The shop will retain online advertising and Web development for the sneaker maker.

“At this point, we are exploring different and innovative solutions to our agency requirements,” said Paul Heffernan, evp of global marketing, design and development.

New Balance, the No. 3 seller of athletic footwear in the U.S. behind Nike and Reebok, according to Sporting Goods Intelligence, declined to say where the business might land. It is considering taking it in-house, bringing a smaller shop on board or a combination of the two scenarios, sources said.

Heffernan said Euro has made “significant contributions towards the overall strength and visibility of the New Balance brand today.”