Publicis in the U.S.

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2002 Rating: 2.5 stars

2001 Rating: Not rated

Publicis & Hal Riney

2002 Rating: 2 stars

2001 Rating: 2 stars

In less than eight weeks, Publicis USA transformed itself. First, the U.S. shop consolidated its Chicago unit into the now-flagship New York office as a result of parent company Publicis Groupe merging with Bcom3 Group. Then, when Publicis Groupe shut D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Publicis landed several Procter & Gamble Co. brands including Bounty, Charmin and Pepto-Bismol. Publicis also launched the wireless service provider T-Mobile USA. Combined with other wins, billings in the U.S. were up 11.4% over 2001.

Separately, Publicis & Riney, San Francisco, an independent shop reporting to Publicis Groupe, took a big hit with the loss of General Motors Corp.'s Saturn, a $300 million billings blow exacerbated by its failed Hyundai Motor America pitch. Nevertheless, the San Francisco shop rides with the Sprint PCS account and the Sprint PCS man, almost a cultural icon.

LOOKING AHEAD

The challenge for Publicis in the U.S. is to shed its pre-D'Arcy image, described by one consultant as "a stitched together, second-tier agency." In the West, with Hal Riney now chairman emeritus, Publicis & Hal Riney needs redefinition or it could become just another Publicis shop.

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