BLOCKBUSTER REVIEWS MUSIC ACCOUNT

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Blockbuster Entertainment Group's decision to put its $20 million music retailing account into review shows the entertainment giant's increasing frustration with the creative output from its agency.

D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, St. Louis, Blockbuster's agency of record since December 1993, won't participate in the review. The agency will still handle Blockbuster Video, Block Party adult amusement facilities and the company's new co-branded Visa card (see story on Page 30).

Speculation that at least part of the business would go into review was heightened when Blockbuster hired Rich Gabe as senior VP-strategic marketing (AA, March 6). Mr. Gabe had been creative director and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office general manager for Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, Mo., Blockbuster's agency before DMB&B.

Bob Bernstein, Bernstein-Rein president and a Blockbuster Video franchisee, said his agency would be interested in pursuing the account, but has made no attempt to pitch and has not been approached.

The decision to review comes as Blockbuster and parent Viacom are moving more aggressively into music retailing.

Mr. Gabe didn't return calls for comment. Blockbuster wouldn't elaborate.

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