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P&G to pare roster of interactive shops

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. plans to consolidate its roster of interactive marketing agencies over the next 12 to 18 months in a move Global Marketing Officer James R. Stengel said in a statement is aimed at "greater integration in our marketing programs, simplified working relationships and reduced costs." A spokesman said the consolidation wouldn't necessarily limit P&G to using only shops affiliated with roster agencies. P&G plans to reduce its roster from 40 shops to 20.

Disney negotiating Fox Family purchase

[new york] Walt Disney Co. is in serious negotiations to purchase News Corp.'s Fox Family Channel, Electronic Media reports today, for a likely price between $5 billion and $5.5 billion. In the most recent discussions between Disney and Fox, the Fox Kids Network would likely be excluded from the deal. An acquisition could be announced as soon as this week, according to those familiar with the situation, though one executive cautioned at press time that the deal was still "in process" and not "totally closed." Spokespeople at Disney and at Disney's ABC Cable Networks Group declined comment, as did a News Corp. spokeswoman.

Longtime Ford Motor Media execs leave

[detroit] As part of an upcoming restructuring at Ford Motor Media, Bob Mancini, executive director, retired July 20 after a 32-year ad career. Also, Tom Johnson, director of national print at the J.Walter Thompson USA unit dedicated to Ford Motor Co. buying, left to pursue other interests, a spokesman said. In the interim, Kevin Brown, director of global communications at the agency and Andy Prakken, executive director of communications services at WPP Group's JWT here, will lead the shop.

P&G pulls `Big Brother 2' advertising

[washington] Procter & Gamble Co., a founding sponsor of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, pulled its CBS "Big Brother 2" ads because of concerns about the program's content. "We do not have plans to advertise on any future episodes, because there have been certain segments of the show that made us uncomfortable," said a P&G spokesman. Unilever, a second member of the forum, said it is reviewing its sponsorship. Viacom's CBS declined comment. Last week the Parents Television Council complained that an episode in which now-expelled housemate Justin Sebik threatened violence against a fellow housemate violated goals of the Family Friendly group and questioned why forum members aired ads in the show. P&G said its decision was unrelated to the group's complaint.

Universal extends Noxzema blade line

[los angeles] Universal Group will extend its line of triple-blade razors for women with a premium disposable product shipping to stores next month. Noxzema K-3 Triple Blade Disposable Razor System will be supported by a print campaign, currently under development in-house. Universal plans to spend $14.1 million through December and another $19.5 million next year.

Congress pressures entertainment marketers

[washington] In the first of two hearings on advertising and marketing of violent entertainment in a week, members of Congress criticized the music industry for failing to do enough to prevent marketing of unsuitable products to kids. "We can't differentiate as parents before we buy music as to how bad it is," said U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin (R., Wy.). On July 25, the pressure continues as U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (D., Conn.), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, holds a hearing on how industry ratings systems are working.

FYI

BCom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Troy, Mich., cut seven to 12 creatives, a spokesman confirmed, declining to give the exact figure. ... Volkswagen of America promoted Karen Marderosian, 32, from ad manager to marketing director. Ms. Marderosian joined VW in October 1999 as Passat model manager. ... The Senate Commerce Committee tomorrow will hold a hearing scrutinizing the integrity of DTC ads, as well as how marketing budgets affect the price of drugs. ... Nestle USA this fall will enter the frozen bowl arena with the $6 million launch of new Stouffer's Slowfire Classics in a Bowl. Havas Advertising's Messner Vetere McNamee Berger Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, handles. ...XM Satellite Radio Holdings tomorrow will unveil its first advertising from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. Ads will break in the coming weeks, with the bulk of the campaign hitting closer to the launch of the subscription-based radio service in late summer or early fall.

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