RSCG SEEMS INTENT TO BE 5TH P&G NETWORK

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Euro RSCG Worldwide is auditioning for the role of Procter & Gamble Co.'s bona fide fifth worldwide agency network.

Seeking more overseas growth, P&G is said to want to refine its use of worldwide agency networks by examining an assignment realignment by product category. The package-goods giant spends upwards of $3 billion annually on advertising, half in the U.S.

Paris-based Euro RSCG is up for more European assignments and could gain work beyond Europe and the U.S. as the agency expands internationally, executives close to the marketer and the agency said. Tatham Euro RSCG, Chicago, already handles multiple P&G brands in North America.

P&G VP-Advertising L. Ross Love said: "We have no plans to expand our business with Tatham Euro RSCG outside our current geography where we now work together, that being North America and Europe."

At the marketer's annual meeting last week in Cincinnati, Chairman-CEO John Pepper said the goal is to "double unit volume over the next 10 years." Toward that P&G is expected to push hard overseas, where Mr. Pepper acknowledged there is "lots of opportunity." For the year ended June 30, about half of P&G's $33.4 billion in revenue came from North America.

"P&G is late [in realigning agencies] compared to competitors such as Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson," said one agency executive, who expects realignment to result in eventual consolidation of P&G's local agency roster-N.W. Ayer & Partners; Wells Rich Greene BDDP; Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor; and Lotas Minard Patton McIver.

For now, though, those agencies are pulling in additional work: Jordan McGrath was just awarded the new Zest Family Deodorant body wash and Ayer may work on an early 1996 test of Olean, the consumer name for olestra, a zero-calorie fat substitute soon expected to receive Food & Drug Administration approval.

While Euro RSCG's European work technically puts it on P&G's global roster-along with Grey Advertising, Leo Burnett Co., Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles-it does not yet have the same global stature or assignment breadth as the core four.

Euro RSCG Chairman-CEO Jean-Michel Goudard claimed no knowledge of any forthcoming P&G assignments but said while "we are not a fifth network now, anything that we can do to strengthen us with a client like P&G we are interested in doing."

He said the agency is now "three weeks away" from finalizing deals that will lead to a needed Latin American network. Other agency executives said there have been talks in Korea and China to augment the agency's Pacific Rim holdings.

A search is also under way for an executive to work for the agency internationally and on P&G worldwide. Those Mr. Goudard has talked with are said to include former Ayer Chairman Steve Dworin.

Jeanne Whalen contributed to this story.

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