2001 Rating: Not rated
After gaining $34 million worth of business from nine nickel-and-dime sized wins, the 70-year-old Interpublic Group of Cos. agency is now repositioning itself as the shop that creates "icon brands" as a way to improve its entree into higher-stakes pitches. Of its four losses in 2002 (including St. Paul Cos. to crosstown rival Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, WD-40 and KeyCorp), the high-profile $20 million Ace Hardware rocked its Chicago outpost. Adding salt to the wounds, the shop made at least four staff cuts in Minneapolis and Chicago totaling an estimated 75 to 85 jobs.
Campbell Mithun also has had a gaping hole in its management ranks with the June departure of creative chief John Hurst, who now oversees the General Mills business at Interpublic's McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, London. Campbell Mithun CEO Les Mouser assures he is making progress in that search. One bright spot is Burger King Corp.'s kid effort via Campbell Mithun's KidCom unit, which is partly credited with boosting kid-meal sales by 20%.
The agency will expand its CashPlus spot-buying unit into an integrated media unit called Campbell Mithun Media Solutions to help media-only pitches aimed at marketers with budgets of less than $50 million. Mr. Mouser is in the hot seat to improve the agency's fortunes, particularly as they financially feed and report into troubled McCann-Erickson WorldGroup. There's even talk that Campbell Mithun will eventually rename itself McCann.