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WPP, Omnicom, Interpublic continue agency staff cuts

[new york] Staff cuts continued at agencies in New York and elsewhere last week. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson fired eight staffers in its New York office. Sibling agency Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide laid off at least 20 employees across all disciplines. An Ogilvy spokeswoman declined to comment. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, let go 20 to 25 staffers. "We held off making cuts for as long as possible," said a DDB spokeswoman. "But the present economy has forced us to re-evaluate our staffing needs so we're in a strong position going into 2002." Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch laid off about 3% of the agency's 900 employees, or approximately 27 people in New York and Los Angeles.

Kmart lays off 15 from advertising department

[troy, mich.] Kmart Corp. laid off 15 employees from its in-house advertising department, an executive close to retailer said. A Kmart spokesman, however, denied there were "mass" layoffs, adding "one person has left the company from this department." He also said "Kmart does not issue public statements about any individual departures beyond those of the executive level."

Grey Worldwide to open Seattle office

[seattle] Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide Northwest, Vancouver, a shop whose accounts include Starbucks promotions and special programs for the Western United States and Canada, is opening a Seattle satellite office. Jason Rolstone, account manager, will head up the shop. Other Vancouver accounts include VanCity, a Canadian credit union, and ADT Security systems for Canada.

Carat challenge passed to state legislature

[sacramento, calif.] California's Little Hoover Commission has passed over a challenge from Aegis Group's Carat USA over media buying duties for the five-year, $125 million Department of Health Services antismoking campaign, according to James Mayer, Little Hoover executive director. Carat charged that Los Angeles advertising agency Ground Zero dropped the media-buying firm after the two firms jointly pitched the account. Mr. Mayer said the challenge was referred to a joint committee of the California Legislature which in turn must decide whether to call for a media buying audit by the California Bureau of State Audits. John Barnes, exec VP-managing director, Carat USA, Los Angeles, said his shop will continue to pursue its challenge with state entities. He claims Ground Zero did not meet a requirement of the original contract that required the agency to have purchased $20 million in media. Carat also says it can get better value for the state's media buying dollar. Ground Zero executives declined to comment on the charges. A state health department spokesman said: "Carat has raised many questions and the department is investigating the allegations."

Hill Holliday lands Togo Eateries account

[randolph, mass.] Allied Domecq's Togo's Eateries selected Interpublic's Hill Holliday, San Francisco, to handle its branding and strategy account, the agency said. The sandwich shop is looking to expand; it awarded the account to Hill Holliday after an informal review. The incumbent was VitroRobertson, San Diego. Togo's spent $221,000 in measured media last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

Wine Market Council narrows review

[greenbrae, calif.] The Wine Market Council has narrowed the search for an advertising agency for a new national TV campaign to two Omnicom Group shops, BBDO Worldwide, and TBWA/Chiat/Day, both San Francisco. The council, hoping to demystify wine selections and encourage consumption, previously tested a campaign from Interpublic's Bozell Worldwide, Chicago. Budget is undetermined.

Tourism pushed in stimulus package

[washington] State and city tourist-office advertising would get a $100 million one-time boost under legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (R., Fla.). Rep. Foley's legislation, which he is trying to get included in the economic stimulus plan, would have the federal government give states $1 for each $1 they spent on tourism marketing this year up to $100 million. The states would have to use the additional money for marketing, but could give their money to cities for their ads.


Red Herring Communications, publisher of Red Herring, laid off 38 of its 140 staffers, including its entire conference division, Nov. 15. The cuts total about 27% of its work force. ... GlaxoSmithKline has rearranged its ad roster. Among the changes, the marketer awarded Grey Worldwide, London and New York, two oral health care products, Sensodyne and Super Poli-Grip. ... McDonald Corp.'s New York Owner Operators group is moving its Hispanic account to Bravo Group, New York, part of WPP Group. Previous agency The Vidal Partnership, New York, resigned the business to take the bigger Wendy's International account. The move does not affect McDonald's national Hispanic account at del Rivero Messianu DDB, Miami. ... Viacom has signed a series of sponsors for its "My VH1 Music Awards `01" to air Dec. 2. The list includes Warner Bros. Pictures, AT&T Corp., L'Oreal, Universal Pictures, Intel Corp., Toyota Motor Sales USA, Lycos, and Verizon Wireless. The show allows fans to vote on the Web for winners. ... Casual dining chain TGI Friday's is close to making a cut in the review for its $40 million creative and media account. Those confirmed as involved in the review: Interpublic shops McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, and the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Kirshenbaum Bond Creative Network, New York; and incumbent Publicis in Mid-America, Dallas. A short list will be released later this month, according to consultant Select Resources International. ... Philip Morris Cos. will change its name to Altria Group, Inc., pending shareholder approval. The company's operating units-including tobacco manufacturers Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International-will retain their names.

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