RJR TO EXIT EVENT MARKETING ARENA

Splits with DraftWorldwide Unit; 'Reallocating' Resources

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., which said it is "reallocating" marketing resources, split with at least one of its events and promotions agencies amid reports that it had decided to exit the event and field marketing arena.

In February, RJR disclosed it intends to withdraw as title sponsor of Nascar's Winston Cup racing series because of changed "business dynamics." RJR has been "reallocating some of our resources to make our marketing more efficient and effective," said Maura Payne, RJR's vice president of communications.

Move a surprise
Agencies were informed Wednesday

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about the decision, which executives close to the situation said came from RJR's "highest levels" and left many at the company surprised.

The Group III Promotions events and promotions unit of Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftWorldwide, which had worked for RJR's Camel since 1982, said it was notified that it had been cut from the RJR roster. The unit, acquired by Draft in July 2000, handled mostly in-bar promotions. Billings on the account were not disclosed.

Other agencies
RJR's other roster agencies performing event marketing are Coyne Beahm, Greensboro, N.C., for its Doral brand; Gyro Worldwide, Philadelphia, for Winston and Camel; and Mezzina Brown & Partners, New York, for Camel. Those agencies declined comment or could not be reached.

Ms. Payne declined to comment on agency terminations but said the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based tobacco company "has been shifting some marketing spending out of some programs and into others to maximize efficiency."

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