Last week, the publishing company narrowed its agency search from five to three. Still in the running are Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; and Mullen, Wenham, Mass. Each has four to six weeks to come up with a detailed marketing plan for Us, and the winner will gain all Wenner titles, including flagship Rolling Stone and Men's Journal.
"The single assignment gets the whole business," said Wenner VP-Group Publisher John Berg.
Wenner parted ways with Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, last month, citing creative differences.
Last summer Wenner said it would convert Us to a weekly schedule in an effort to more effectively compete with Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly and People. The frequency switch was originally scheduled for mid-'99, as Wenner searched for a financial partner to share the estimated $50 million cost of switching the production schedule.
Now, with no prospective partner, the company has decided to go it alone, but has yet to provide a date for the relaunch.
Spending on the Wenner account is estimated at $3 million to $5 million, but some observers contend that may rise when Wenner shifts Us' frequency.
The company also plans to introduce a new Internet title, another factor that could boost its ad spending.
SHOOT-OUT IN PRINT
Wenner had asked five shops, including Arnold Communications and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, both Boston, to submit their "best print work" created for other clients.
"We were looking for print that was exceptionally graphic, tended to be ironic or funny and was very smart," Mr. Berg said. "Those three elements reflect [our]