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ACCOUNT CHANGES ARE FLOWING;BIG WINS FOR GOODBY, LEBER KATZ; TROUBLE FOR BATES

Published on .

Mega-agency chief Bruce Crawford doesn't hold out much hope for midsize ad agencies. But last week was a good one for midsize shops-the kind owned by Mr. Crawford's Omnicom Group.

Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners grabbed $30 million in Bud Ice, previously handled by Omnicom sister agency DDB Needham Worldwide (see story on Page 2). At True North Communications, FCB/Leber Katz Partners won the $25 million Tropicana account (Page 2).

Both moves had significance beyond their billings. Goodby's capture of Bud Ice put the San Francisco shop on track to become Anheuser-Busch's second major agency. Leber Katz's win came as a surprise, since Tropicana parent Seagram Co. had implied that only Seagram agencies would be considered, and Leber Katz wasn't on that roster .*.*. until now.

Not in a position to celebrate last week was Bates USA. The Cordiant-owned agency's $50 million Miller Genuine Draft account is said to be in jeopardy (Page 2). The stakes are potentially far higher, since Bates is Miller Brewing Co.'s media-buying agency of record, an assignment worth $300 million. If the MGD account moves, a review of the media account seems likely.

Ally & Gargano knows what it's like to lose an important account, again and again. Ally started the year as a midsize agency and, after more than $100 million in account loses, will be lucky to end 1995 as a small agency. By last week, Ally had dwindled to less than 10 staffers (Page 5).

But don't shed tears for independent midsize agencies just yet. Their numbers and share of billings have been on the rise in the past four years (Page 5).

"There are a lot of great midsize agencies producing outstanding work, and there always will be," asserted Brett Shevack, CEO of Partners & Shevack.

And from Ally & Gargano co-founder Amil Gargano, possibly the most reassuring words: "Size is irrelevant."

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