"Starcom has been a partner of Miller's for nine years, but we're just reviewing that business to make sure we're getting the best value for our dollar," Marino explained. "This is just something that we do periodically as part of our 'best practices' policy." He went on to say that Starcom's is the latest in a methodical series of reviews of Miller's various business-to-business contracts.
Nonetheless, media insiders speculated that Miller's review--to be led by Bob Brennan, a former Starcom executive, and Dave Genel, Miller's media director--may also have been inspired by similar account reviews following the disclosure of financial and potential legal problems within Interpublic Group of Companies, including late filing of financial statements required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Brennan and Genel were unavailable for comment, as were executives at Roth Associates, the consulting firm that will manage the review. Marino refused to disclose what other media buying firms might bid on the account alongside Starcom, but did say that Miller would use a "jump ball" approach, in which the company solicits proposals for specific upcoming projects.