Omnicom Group's TBWA/ Chiat/Day faced challenges as its offices struggled with several account losses and creative staff departures.
The agency's San Francisco office, for the time being, solidified the Levi Strauss & Co. business and held onto the office's creative star, Chuck McBride, by naming him creative director for North America. Keeping Mr. McBride happy could be key, because Carl Johnson, president-CEO of the New York office, lost five creative-side employees, including Chief Creative Officer David Page. The highly regarded freelance team of Dallas Itzen and Patrick O'Neill took over as c0-executive creative directors to replace Mr. Page.
In other moves, Robert LePlae, managing director on the agency's Nissan and Infinity brands, became president of G1 Worldwide, a joint venture between Hakuhodo and TBWA Worldwide, Tokyo. Creative Director Ken Segall left to join Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/ Euro RSCG to work on the Intel Corp. account.
The agency lost such clients as Kozmo.com, Sara Lee Corp.'s Barelythere and Wonderbra, Barnesandnoble.com and Web-
Street, totaling about $70 million. On the upside, the New York office claimed new billings this year of $340 million.
Accounts won include Kmart Corp., Seagram Spirits & Wine Group's Martell cognac, Orbit.com, Stockback.com, Office.com, Bulmers and New York Public Schools. XM Satellite Radio was brought in by Playa del Rey office, but let Tricon Global Restaurants' Taco Bell slip away.
Bent on growth, the agency is moving to resolve inevitable conflicts by declaring clients office specific. New York, for example, can handle Kmart's Bluelight.com business, while its San Francisco office can handle Levi's and pitch competing Amazon.com. Either the clients will buy it, or the agency will face inevitable interoffice struggles. It remains to be seen whether or not Messrs. Itzen and O'Neill can manage a creative department.
Last year's rating: 3.5