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FCB Worldwide

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Agency rating: 2

New York-based FCB Worldwide's slew of account wins-about $800 million from such clients as Compaq Computer Corp., Samsung Electronics and AT&T Corp., Tricon Global Restaurants' Taco Bell and Major League Baseball-were overshadowed by losing one of

the biggest account consolidations, DaimlerChrysler.

Indeed, that made the losses of clients Gateway, 3Com Corp., Amazon.com and E&J Gallo look small by comparison.

The agency's prolific new-business year will likely allow parent True North Communications to set a higher price when it sells itself.

FCB in 2000 worked hard to play catch-up in adding non-traditional service divisions and expertise. In June, FCB combined direct and digital capabilities under FCBi.

It also has made strides in its creative and account teams, including naming David Kessler to worldwide account director on AT&T from exec VP-international account director, Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York.

In San Francisco, FCB posted gains with the acquisition of the

$200 million-plus Taco Bell account, but the shop must prove itself with new branding and other product efforts to satiate the fast-food marketer.

LOOKING AHEAD

Industry observers predict True North will be swallowed up by another holding company.

In San Francisco, the agency is in the process of rebuilding its

fabled creative department under new Creative Director Rooney Carruthers in anticipation of the retirement of the office's President Geoff Thompson.

FCB will have to compete with the pack of other agencies trying to recruit top-shelf renaissance leaders to elevate and differentiate the agency brand. The agency has begun a full-court press to brand and sell its strategic tools to spur organic growth. It will continue to beef up its convergent direct and digital capabilities.

Last year's rating: 2

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