Publicis may have acquired Hal Riney & Partners in 1998, but last year was the first time the San Francisco-based agency benefited in new business from the relationship.
The win, along with work from General Motors Corp.'s Saturn Corp. and Sprint PCS, led the shop to claim billings in 2000 of $1 billion.
At the beginning of 2000, Riney cashed in on the dot-com boom, with such clients as Webvan Group, eToys and Discovery.com.
Advertising for the Saturn L Series midsized sedan had to be retooled in February. By year-end, despite solid creative, the dot-coms petered out, along with high-tech clients ReplayTV and Iomega Corp.
Even banking client First Union Corp. scaled back considerably on ad spending. Miller Brewing Co.'s Henry Weinhard's, a brand that Hal Riney used to build his agency's reputation, shipped the work to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
For Publicis & Riney, the question of the future of Saturn looms large, potentially taking the agency up as the marketer embarks on
the most aggressive product expansion in its history-or into new territory if the brand moves away from its independent origins as Saturn's marketing team moves to GM headquarters.
Still, the shop has a broader agency reel than it's had in a number of years as it jockeys on the new business scene. Locally, questions remain on whether Publicis will merge the San Francisco office of Saatchi & Saatchi into Publicis & Riney's shop there.
Last year's rating: 2.5