In a probable prelude to global consolidation of its ad business, Texaco is expected to award $36 million in product and retail advertising to BBDO Worldwide, New York.
The business currently is split between Cordiant units Bates USA and Zenith Media.
The shift, which could be announced this week, is poorly timed for Bates, which is now preparing for analyst presentations as part of the Cordiant "demerger." It also follows a global consolidation by Compaq Computer Corp. of its ad account last week which left Bates's London operation the loser (see story on Page 10).
Also, Jack Anser, senior VP-marketing at Bates client Foot Locker, earlier acknowledged the retailer is talking to other agencies as part of an "assessment" of the $25 million account.
STATIONS, HAVOLINE INVOLVED
According to executives close to Texaco, Bates will turn over creative on-among other assignments-gasoline service stations and Havoline motor oil, while Zenith will forfeit network and spot TV buying, with all of that work going to BBDO.
In addition, Bates and a unit or units within BBDO parent Omnicom Group's Diversified Agency Services are expected to contend for Texaco's below-the-line marketing business.
Below-the-line spending was undetermined at Texaco to BBDO press time.
BBDO beat Bates in a January shootout for Texaco's new $40 million corporate campaign. That effort is scheduled to break Labor Day weekend, airing on network and cable TV shows and targeting opinion leaders.
The fall campaign is a pet project of Texaco Chairman-CEO Peter Bijur, largely because of the scandal involving a widely publicized racial discrimination lawsuit. Working closely with Mr. Bijur as a corporate communications consultant is Linda Robinson, who worked closely with BBDO Vice Chairman Phil Dusenberry on President Reagan's 1984 re-election campaign.
Texaco Director of Product Advertising Mark Johnson late last week said Bates is Texaco's agency "at this time."
BBDO referred all calls on the new assignments to Texaco; Zenith executives were unavailable for comment.
BATES 'VERY HEALTHY'
A Bates spokeswoman said, "We're a $6.3 billion company [in billings] and a very healthy company worldwide," adding that the Texaco and Compaq accounts represent less than 1.5% of the agency's total billings and that, despite the loss of Compaq, Bates' European operations have brought in $140 million in new business this year.
In the U.S., she said, the agency is currently pitching $200 million worth of new business, including Aamco Transmissions and creative for CVS, combined worth about $30 million.
BBDO's corporate campaign is expected to be used globally, leading executives close to Texaco to predict further consolidation internationally.
Mr. Johnson said, "I'm not telling you it's impossible we would want to try to consolidate globally. It's not happening in the next two weeks."