Representatives for Avis Budget Group told Ad Age it was not ready
to make an official announcement about the appointment; Leo Burnett
declined to comment.
In a statement, McCann said it remains on the roster and will
keep taking on work for Avis. "Although Avis has opted to appoint a
new creative agency in the U.S., McCann Erickson will
continue to handle Avis [in Europe, the Middle East and Africa]
through our U.K. Hub, plus we have just been assigned a project for
Budget," the statement said.
"The Avis business, as a percentage of the North American book
of business I run ... is not very sizable," Hank Summy, McCann's new North
American president, told Ad Age . "In the new business aspect of my
job, fear is my friend. I'm always looking at new business and
concerned that the size of the pipe isn't what I want it to be. I'm
not saying that there's not concern ... but this latest loss of
Avis doesn't concern me more [because of ] the business development
pipeline and what's there."
Avis Budget Group devoted nearly $30 million in domestic
measured media to market the Avis brand between January and
November 2011, according to Kantar.
According to McCann, it has had a significant amount of organic
growth, expanding its relationships with General Mills,
securing a business-to-business assignment in North America for
Communications, and for Coca-Cola it has
expanded its business in Brazil and in several Asian markets.
Still, it's unclear to what degree those assignments soften the
departure during the past year of several key pieces of business
from McCann's New York office and from McCann Erickson globally.
Recent account losses include Applebee's, Lufthansa and
McCann Worldgroup, led by Nick Brien for two years, is the
biggest driver of revenue for Interpublic. It is no doubt being
closely watched by the parent's top management and by shareholders
for signs of a turnaround. The pressure is on Mr. Brien to deliver
changes. Though it's clear he knows how to overhaul management --
he's brought in a wave of new talent for both creative and
operations -- the agency must prove it can consistently attract new
McCann's HumanCare health-marketing arm picked up consumer
creative work for several Merck brands a couple of weeks ago. McCann has also won some
assignments for Ikea but has not brought in many accounts. The
remaining question is whether General Motors will
retain McCann as part of its ongoing creative review.
Leo Burnett's win increases the Chicago-based shop's momentum of
recent months. It has won work for Chobani, Fifth Third Bancorp,
Esurance, Dewar's and MillerCoors'
Fosters, Molson and Sparks brands.
Last month, Ad Age named Leo Burnett one of its 10 agencies to watch, after it ended 2011 with
a huge win: Along with sibling Digitas , it picked up the Sprint
account and succeeds Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein
& Partners in handling creative duties. It scored nine
new-business wins last year and eight clients with organic growth,
and hired nearly 300 new employees.
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Contributing: Alexandra Bruell