Five Wins in December for Interpublic Network

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The San Francisco Chronicle has awarded its advertising account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, San Francisco, giving the network another account win in the last weeks of December.

Patricia Hoyt, marketing director for the Hearst-owned newspaper, said the Chronicle was looking to improve recruitment, auto and real estate advertising in particular. The agency laid out plans for a two-pronged approach to boost circulation and increase classified advertising.

No details on campaign
Ms. Hoyt declined to give specifics on the campaign, but said it would reach employers and other businesses through direct mail and would be making use of relatively inexpensive TV and radio airtime in January.

Ian Beavis, CEO of FCB's San Franciso office, said the agency would be working to increase trialing of the paper and would also try to improve respect for

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the newspaper's editorial product. "We're trying to make the newspaper more relevant to the individual reader," he said.

"FCB displayed knowledge of the newspaper and the market and it resonated with us as much as we'd like to resonate with the readers," said Ms. Hoyt, who anticipated that the campaign would run until May or June with billings of $2 million to $3 million, though the work could total $5 million as the newspaper spends on future campaigns.

Account stays local
The Chronicle parted ways with incumbent Grant, Scott & Hurley at the end of November, and though a number of regional agencies were involved in the pitch, the final shootout was between FCB and Rives Cardberg, Houston. The Chronicle's decision to hand its account to a local agency is also a much-needed shot in the arm for beleaguered San Francisco advertising community.

Separately, FCB, New York, was hired by the Environmental Protection Agency for a $10 million campaign to raise awareness about its Energy Star initiative. Energy Star is a symbol that lets businesses and consumers know about the most energy-efficient appliances and services on the market.

The effort, which is expected to last for at least a year, will include TV, print, direct mail and digital marketing. An Energy Star representative did not return calls by press time.

Timely wins
These wins, though small, are welcomed by FCB, which now handles the vaunted $12 million Diet Coke assignment. The agency also confirmed last week it picked up new project work from Campbell Soup Co. for outdoor advertising for Campbell's condensed red-and-white soup brand in Boston. The Automobile Club of Southern California last week also hired the agency's Irvine, Calif., office for its estimated $5 million to $10 million branding account.

Brendan Ryan, FCB's worldwide chairman-CEO, said, "It's absolutely great to be able to announce five terrific wins in one week at the end of the year. These wins are a sign of confidence from top-flight companies. A lot of the business that went out of the door was consolidation and it was hard, but we're happy now. 2003 should be a successful year."