REELSCENE: News & Notes – 10/30/03

TOURISM NARROWS AGENCY CHOICES. The local branches of three foreign-owned ad agencies got the nod from the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as finalists for the $12.5 million Illinois Tourism account. Independents Grant/Jacoby and Hoffman York and Campbell-Mithun’s local office were out.

The finalists are WPP Group shops J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam, and Havas’ Euro RSCG Tatham Partners.

DCEO communications director Laura Hunter will oversee the final reviews with Jan Jostner, Tourism’s deputy director. Pile & Co., Boston, is the consultant running the review.

TALENT UNIONS RATIFY CONTRACTS. The new SAG/AFTRA commercials contracts became effective Oct. 30 after a vote of 94% of union members ratified the contracts. Of the nearly 129,000 ballots mailed to SAG and AFTRA members, about 27% (34,415) were returned.

HIGHER AGENCY REVENUES REPORTED. Omnicom Group, parent of DDB and BBDO, reported a strong third quarter. It posted $135.3 million net income for the quarter up 7.3% from last year’s period, on $2.03 billion in revenue, a 14.7% increase. That should earn a collective sigh of relief since layoffs may subside in the months ahead. WPP Group (JWT, Y&R) also reported higher third quarter revenues of almost 11%, to $1.7 billion compared to 2002. WPP is looking to the 2004 Summer Olympics and the presidential campaign to further boost revenues.

LOCAL WRANGLER AGENCY. Two by Four was tapped by Wrangler to develop an ad campaign for its new Riggs Workwear brand, a functional denim line. Two by Four is the agency for Wrangler Western Wear and 20X brands.

NEW CAPPS SERVICE. Publicis-owned Frankel and Leo Burnett’s premedia division, Capps Digital, formed Capps at Frankel, a full service studio inside Frankel shop, but managed by Capps. Services include including graphic design, photography, illustration, color-correction and re-touching.