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Agencies pitch for AT&T Wireless account

Agency pitches are set for this week in the review for AT&T Wireless' $400 million account. The pitch meetings could conclude by week's end. The finalists are: True North Communications' FCB Worldwide, New York; Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis; WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York; and Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. MagikBox, Cos Cob, Conn., is handling the review, which began in March. FCB, New York, is defending the account; the agency's San Francisco office held the business since 1995. A final decision is expected sometime this month.

Saatchi & Saatchi to close San Fran shop

Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi is closing its 60-person San Francisco office, as expected. Julie Bauer, a managing partner at Saatchi, New York, said the office, which peaked at $180 million in billings in 1998, would shut its doors Aug. 1. "We made every effort to keep the office viable, but there just wasn't the business to support it," she said. The shop's prime remaining client was Procter & Gamble Co., but that work will be returned to the New York office. The closure comes after Saatchi executives denied the office would close (AA, May 21).

Impiric changes name back to Wunderman

Impiric Worldwide, the marketing services arm of WPP Group-owned Young & Rubicam, June 1 changed its name back to Wunderman, as expected (AA, March 12). The company abandoned its old moniker-Wunderman Cato Johnson-in 1998 to reposition itself as a customer relationship marketing specialist. The name change signifies the world's No. 3 marketing services shop's re-connection with its direct marketing heritage-laid out by founder Lester Wunderman. (See for more.)

Microsoft backs Office XP with $70 mil campaign

Microsoft Corp. is backing Office XP, the latest version of its Office software, with an estimated $50 million to $70 million ad and marketing campaign via Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco. Office XP launched on May 31 with a four-page insert in The Wall Street Journal; ads also run in Business Week, Forbes and other business publications targeting knowledge workers. Various versions of Office are installed on the majority of the world's computer desktops, making the Office XP upgrade a bit of a hard sell. But Office accounted for 37% of Microsoft's $6.46 billion revenue in the most recent quarter, making it a veritable cash cow.

Visa conducts review for interactive account

Visa USA is conducting a review for its interactive account, which had been divided between the @tmosphere unit of Omnicom's BBDO and MarchFirst, the Chicago-based interactive shop that declared bankruptcy in April. The review, which will include the Omnicom unit, is being conducted by Select Resources International. @tmosphere may pitch the business with Organic, which is one of the companies that Omnicom is managing with Seneca Investments in a new e-services holding company. BBDO and Organic have been discussing a strategic alliance.

Radio ad revenue downslide continues

Radio ad revenue fell 9% overall in April, with national sales decreasing 22% and local dollars down 5%, compared with April 2000, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. For the first five months of the year, total revenue was down 7%, compared with the same period in 2000, and national and local dropped 20% and 3%, respectively. Radio's downslide is the result of current economic conditions and tough comparisons created by extreme growth in the first two quarters of last year. (See for more.)

Time Inc. execs first to accept buyouts

Two top Time Inc. executives are at the front of the line to accept buyouts from the company. Lisa Long, exec VP, and her husband, Dave Long, president-media sales, will leave the company at the end of July, according to an internal memo from Chairman-CEO Don Logan. Mr. Long, 54, and Ms. Long, 51, had informed Mr. Logan in January that they intended to retire to North Carolina at the end of the year. Mr. Long said the buyout offer stepped up the couple's timetable. More than 530 buyout packages were sent to Time Inc. staffers from May 23 to May 25, a Time Inc. spokesman said.


Dial Corp. has eliminated incumbent Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, New York, from its estimated $20 million to $30 million personal cleansing products review. The remaining contenders were not disclosed at press time. ... Interpublic's Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., announced that it is transferring its Martin Interactive division to New York. Of the division's 17 employees based in Richmond, eight will be reassigned to other divisions of the agency, and nine will be laid off. ... General Mills May 29 appointed Publicis-backed Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, as its African-American agency of record.

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