FOOTE, CONE & BELDING: STRING OF LOSSES CAN'T KEEP 'EM DOWN

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When levi strauss & co. placed its landmark $90 million jeans account in review, it was a sharp blow for FCB, ending a 68-year run with the brand that had produced a raft of award-winning creative. FCB also lost out in the consolidation of Citicorp's account at Young & Rubicam and had to resign Mazda Motors of America when parent True North Communications bought Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, causing a conflict with Chrysler Corp. But FCB got up off the mat, bringing in business from Taco Bell, Quaker Oats Co., Alamo Rent A Car and 3Com Corp., and more work from clients Nabisco Foods, AT&T Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service.

LOOKING AHEAD

FCB started 1998 right, landing $50 million in U.S. billings from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. But it still has to contend with the full effects of its late '97 Levi's jeans loss. Also, since the Bozell acquisition closed Dec. 30, it's still unclear how much FCB will be affected by perceived client conflicts with its new sister shop, and how effective the combination of Bozell and True North's media units will be in helping pull in new business.

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