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[new york] Sixty employees at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe, New York, were told last week they will be laid off, executives close to the situation said. The cuts affect staff in the back office, creative services and other departments and follow the merger of Interpublic's Bozell with Lowe and the subsequent shift of client Bank of America to Deutsch due to client conflicts. Some of the fired employees will leave in coming weeks; others will remain until their jobs are phased out over the next several months. Lowe declined to comment.

Microsoft server products get $200 mil ad campaign

[redmond, wash.] Microsoft Corp. on April 24 opens a $200 million global ad campaign to promote three new Windows Server 2003 products. Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco, handles. TV, print, online and outdoor advertising supports. Creative positions the products as helping budget-constrained business decision makers and information-technology professionals "Do more with less." Initially, two TV spots will run in cable and network TV prime time through June 30; two additional spots are planned for the July-to-September period. Microsoft will spend $100 million of the $200 million in North America.

Teen mag `YM' to cut its rate base by 10%

[new york] Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's YM will slash its rate base 10% to 2 million, effective with its October issue. Earlier this year, an Audit Bureau of Circulations' audit of YM showed it had overstated its newsstand sales by almost 200,000 copies for a portion of 2001 and had missed making its rate base for more than half its issues.

Virgin Mobile picks shop: Fallon in, Leagas out

[new york] Virgin Mobile USA awarded Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, New York, its $50 million account, after a review including incumbent Leagas Delaney, San Francisco; WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York; and Modernista, Boston. Fallon will also handle media planning. Media buying remains with Palisades Media Group, Santa Monica, Calif. See QwikFIND aao61p

Review to be held after, Arnold split

[san francisco] is looking for a global ad shop after it and Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, decided to split., a unit of TMP Worldwide, spent about $30 million annually through its agency, said Arnold. said the agency review would open once a new senior VP-marketing is hired to succeed Peter Blacklow, who resigned as VP-marketing earlier this year. See Qwik FIND aao61m

Ex-Gillette exec pleads not guilty in fraud case

[boston] Former Gillette Co. manager Gino Deluca, 46, was free on bond after pleading not guilty to 15 counts of mail and wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Mr. Deluca, the former director of Gillette's permanent merchandising systems department, allegedly took nearly $600,000 worth of kickbacks from print, fixture and marketing services vendors to whom he directed more than $22 million in business. See QwikFIND aao60p

McDonald's tries new look in salad TV ads

[oakbrook, ill.] McDonald's broke a national TV campaign for its new Premium Salads line April 21, a multi-agency effort it said was "visually ... unlike anything McDonald's has done before." Creative focuses on the "unconventional lives of today's women." Spending was not disclosed. Agencies behind the spots: Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago; Publicis' Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; Publicis-backed Burrell, Chicago; and del Rivero Messianu, Miami.

PepsiCo's SoBe launches Hispanic line extension

[norwalk, conn.] PepsiCo's SoBe Beverages is introducing SoBe Fuerte ("Strong"), a version of its herb-enhanced beverage line, with a mango passion-fruit blend that will be sold in heavily Hispanic Texas, San Diego and South Florida markets. Tagline: "SoBe Tu Mismo" ("SoBe Yourself"). The drink will be promoted with Spanish-language radio as well as point-of-sale and sampling at Hispanic-targeted youth events. Spending was not disclosed.

AskJeeves hires TBWA to rebuild awareness

[emeryville, calif.] Internet search company AskJeeves named Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, to handle creative, media buying and planning and re-establish consumer awareness for the brand, after a review. Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, San Francisco, was the incumbent. Spending was not disclosed.

Amtrak opens review for its $18m account

[new york] Amtrak said its $18 million creative account is in review. Requests for credentials were sent to 16 agencies, including incumbent White & Baldacci, Herndon, Va. An Amtrak spokeswoman declined to identify the other 15 shops. A decision is expected by late June.

FYI . . .

FleetBoston Financial launches a $70 million branding campaign April 22 to support its retail and commercial banking services. Interpublic's Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, handles. ... Wenner Media shelved plans to bid for Primedia's "Seventeen," executives close to the situation said, bolstering the perceived front-runner status of Hachette Filipacchi Media US in the bidding for the teen title. ... John Elkins, Visa International's newly named head of global brand and marketing, said his first priority is to oversee sponsorships and partnerships, including Visa ties to the Olympics and Walt Disney Co. Mr. Elkins was previously chairman-CEO of Interpublic's FutureBrand unit. ... Margaret Tutwiler, a potential successor to the ad industry's Charlotte Beers as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, was sent to Iraq to help coordinate public diplomacy and communications there. Ms. Tutwiler, who worked in both Bush administrations and was State department spokesperson during the first Persian Gulf war, is currently U.S. ambassador to Morocco.

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