‘Passion’ Hits the Road

NEW YORK-The agreement by True North Communications to acquire Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt for approximately $440 million creates an opportunity on the creative portion of the estimated $250 million Mazda Motor of America account, which TN’s Foote, Cone & Belding agreed to resign as a condition of the deal.
Richard Beattie, a former Ford Motor Co. executive who is currently chief executive officer of Mazda, is exploring options including conducting an agency review that would involve current Ford roster shops J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam, as well as outside contenders, sources said. Ford Motor Co. has management control of Mazda. FCB recently lost Mazda’s national media buying assignment to J. Walter Thompson.
FCB has handled Mazda for 27 years and will continue to service the account until the fourth quarter of this year. This will include a campaign to “support the introduction of a number of new Mazda models for 1998,” according to Mazda representative Tom McDonald.
In an attempt to save the account, executives at FCB’s Santa Ana, Calif., office have introduced the idea of spinning itself off from TN. Bruce Mason, chief executive officer at TN, confirmed this idea as a possibility that could be considered if Mazda were interested. Welton Mansfield, head of FCB’s Santa Ana office, declined comment.
FCB’s resignation was precipitated by Bozell Worldwide client Chrysler, which was concerned about being under the same agency roof with one of its fiercest competitors.
The acquisition, which is subject to shareholder approval and regulatory oversight and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, will create the sixth-largest global advertising communications company, with more than $11 billion in combined billings, $1.2 billion in projected revenues and 297 offices around the world.-with staff reports