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Big layoffs at Riney after Saturn Corp. loss

[san francisco] Publicis & Hal Riney has begun to lay off as many as 100 of its 300 employees, executives familiar with the situation said after the loss last week of its $300 million General Motors Corp. Saturn Corp. account. A Publicis & Hal Riney executive confirmed layoffs had begun at the Publicis Groupe shop but would not discuss numbers. The new Saturn agency, Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, indicated it would hire about 50 employees over time as the account builds but would not necessarily hire from Publicis ranks. Separately, Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day will not be closing its San Francisco office following the loss of its $66 million Levi Strauss & Co. account. Layoffs are likely; Chuck McBride, creative director for North America, is expected to stay on to jointly handle Adidas work with the Playa del Rey office.

Nestle opens review for its Purina brands

[new york] Nestle is said to have put in review its $150 million media buying account for its recently acquired Purina pet food brands. The work had been handled on a project basis by a pool of agencies that included CIA Medianetwork (now WPP Group's Mediaedge: CIA) and Bcom3 Group's Starcom Media and Giant Step, Chicago. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann currently handles Nestle's media buying and planning. Nestle is combining acquired brands, including Pro Plan and Purina O.N.E., with Nestle pet food brands in a unit named Nestle Purina PetCare. One media executive suggested a creative review will likely follow as a result of the merger. Publicis' Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis; Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York; and in-house shop CheckMark Communications handle Purina brands. Nestle's creative shops for pet food include Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Los Angeles, and Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif. Calls to Nestle executives were not returned.

Minute Maid says Doner to be agency for 2002

[houston] Coca-Cola Co.'s Minute Maid unit said the bulk of its advertising, once headed for Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, will be handled by Doner, Southfield, Mich., on a project basis for the balance of 2002. Spending was not disclosed but Minute Maid spent $37 million on measured media during the first 10 months of 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Doner's position on the account will be revisited at the end of the year, said a Minute Maid spokesman. FCB is barred from working on Coca-Cola brands until June under an out-of-court settlement with former client PepsiCo. "Since things are up in the air with everything, we chose Doner because that was a relationship that wasn't changing," said Minute Maid. Former Minute Maid agency Leo Burnett USA still handles Disney-branded juices.

Orbitz flies to Fusion; TBWA is left behind

[chicago] Travel Web site Orbitz split with Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, and moved some business to Fusion Idea Lab, Chicago, executives familiar with the situation said. Orbitz spent $13 million in measured in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. An Orbitz spokeswoman said there was an "amicable" parting with TBWA/Chiat/Day but declined to comment on Fusion. The story was first reported on AdAge.com.

Ameritrade ads animate the bulls and bears

[omaha, neb.] Ameritrade Holding Corp. breaks a new campaign Feb. 6 for its online brokerage. TV spots, from WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, feature animated bull and bear characters created by Aardman, London, the animation house responsible for the film "Chicken Run." The campaign includes TV and print. Spending was not disclosed.

Bowl ads opening shot in $10 mil U.S ad push

[washington] The Super Bowl spots aired by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Sunday kicked off a larger $10 million, two-month ad campaign carrying the message that profits from illegal drug trafficking funds support terror and terrorist activities. WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles. TV and radio ads in English and Spanish and an extensive newspaper and magazine campaign are planned.

PrimeCo airs new spots as it seeks new shop

[chicago] Wireless phone company PrimeCo, under new owner Clarity Partners, is seeking a new agency since splitting with Richards Group, Dalllas, at the end of last year, is believed to have shot new TV ads through Havas Advertising's Euro RSCG McConnaughy Tatham, Chicago. Neither the agency nor PrimeCo would confirm who created the work. "We are working with an agency on an interim basis," said PrimeCo Director-Marketing Michael McCann, who added that no final selection has been made. Grant Jacoby, Chicago, also is a contender for the $10 million to $15 million assignment, according to executives with knowledge of the pitch.

Western Union in search for multicultural agency

[denver] First Data Corp.'s Western Union Financial Services placed its North American consumer advertising account in review. Incumbent agencies Bromley Communications, San Antonio, Tex., and Unity Media, New York, have been invited to compete. The company said the new agency will handle multicultural marketing duties in the U.S. and Canada. Western Union split with Interpublic's Lowe, New York, last fall when it decided it would focus its $20 million in annual ad spending on multicultural marketing. Achenbaum Bogda Associates, New York, is handling the review.

MSG eyes three shops for $8 mil assignment

[new york] Cablevision Corp.'s Madison Square Garden Networks narrowed the $8 million review for its network programming ad assignment to three agencies, a person familiar with the account said. The finalists are Bouchez Kent & Co., Hemple Stefanides and Wolfe/Doyle Advertising, all New York. Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, is the incumbent. Consultant Matchworks, New York, handles the review.

FYI . . .

General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet said it will break nine new TV spots during the Olympics starting Feb. 8 on NBC. Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., handles. Chevrolet said the spending will top Chevy's normal quarterly spend (in the neighborhood of about $125 million). ... Internet networking company Cisco Systems, San Jose, Calif., put its multimillion-dollar global advertising account in review. The incumbent, Interpublic's Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, San Francisco, will not participate. ... General Electric Co.'s NBC West Coast President Scott Sassa is expected to depart NBC by June, Electronic Media reports today. NBC declined to comment to EM, and Mr. Sassa was not available for comment. Also, President-Sales CBS Television Joe Abruzzese is expected to add a role at overseeing sales managers at sibling Viacom unit King World Productions, EM reports. ... Coca-Cola Co. is expanding Mello Yello nationally, said people close to the brand. The beverage brand has minimal coverage outside the U.S. Southeast. WPP Group's Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York, handles. ... MetLife sought a court order to stop the new "mlife" ad campaign of AT&T Corp.'s AT&T Wireless and contended it infringed on MetLife's "Have you MetLife today?" ads. AT&T said the claim was without merit. ... Investment consultant AXA Advisors narrowed the review for its $10 million AXA Financial advertising account to Boston independent McCarthy Mambro Bertino and Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York. Seiter & Miller, New York, had handled the account since 1997. AXA Financial received $2.1 million in measured media ad support in the first 10 months of last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

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