MCCANN WINS ADD DIVERSITY TO CLIENT ROSTER: AVIS, BOEING, DEUTSCHE BANKS BRING $115 MIL, AND CHALLENGES

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In just two days last week, McCann-Erickson Worldwide swept up three major accounts totaling $115 million in billings.

The North American win of Avis Rent A Car and Boeing Co., along with the win in Germany of Deutsche Banks, diversified a roster heavy with tech accounts. The tally added to a '99 string of non-tech wins, boosting McCann's effort to avoid a techie reputation gained after its '98 pickup of Sprint Corp., Gateway and Lucent Technologies.

In January, the agency won the $50 million DuPont Co. corporate account, following up in May with home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. $100 million assignment. The Avis account adds another $30 million in billings; Boeing also is estimated at $30 million. Deutsche Bank brings another $55 million in billings to McCann's international coffers.

'A GOOD MIX'

"We've been focusing on technology business -- the Microsoft [Windows] win [in May] was a big step in that direction -- but the orientation of wins lately has been a good mix of technology, corporate and retail," said Don Dillon, president of McCann-Erickson North America and CEO of the New York office.

"These days in the ad business you have to have the ability to operate in many categories."

McCann won't have much time to relish its wins; Boeing wants ads by the end of the year, and Avis is coping with management and ownership turnovers and sliding market share over the past few years. Once second in the car rental category, Avis now ranks fifth.

"The management now at Avis is looking to make very big moves to build its business," Mr. Dillon said. "Avis wants to go to the next level."

'WE TRY HARDER' TO REMAIN

Avis previously was handled by Bates Worldwide, New York, which resigned the account. Bates created the tagline "We try harder. For you," which is expected to remain.

Maria Miller, Avis senior VP-marketing, said the company sought an agency that could bring renewed relevance to the tagline.

"Finding the voice and meaning for 'We try harder' today, for me, was the key behind this search," she said. Moreover, McCann impressed Avis as a "quick study" in its proposals for brand strategy and creative, Ms. Miller said.

"They demonstrated to us that they really got it," she said. "They understood the brand and what we're trying to accomplish."

BOEING'S IMAGE WOES

Boeing, which has commercial aircraft, space and communications, and military divisions, has taken an image hit over the past two years as production problems forced the company to struggle to keep up with demand.

The company wants an ad campaign targeted at Wall Street executives, customers and its 200,000 employees that emphasizes its global reach and depth of services in the wake of recent mergers with McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell Aerospace.

"The Boeing brand has not been leveraged to its full potential," said Judith Muhlberg, Boeing VP-communications, who led the review.

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