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I-shop Digitas, Interpublic in discussions over sale

[boston] I-shop Digitas has been in conversations with Interpublic Group of Cos. about a potential sale, according to an executive familiar with the situation. Digitas and Interpublic declined to comment. Interpublic and Digitas have some mutual clients, including General Motors Corp. There are also significant conflicts; Digitas has been working with PepsiCo recently, while Interpublic agencies handle most of the work for Coca-Cola Co. Digitas, which has been weathering the interactive downturn better than most competitors, has been considering the possibility of being sold (AA, May 21).

Dentsu to provide capital for Harmonic venture

[san francisco] Dentsu today is expected to announce it is investing in Harmonic Communicat-ions, which is developing marketing technology and ways to measure ads' effectiveness. Executives at the firm anticipate the Dentsu funding will allow the company to operate for at least one to two years. Harmonic's board includes Mark Kvamme, a founder of CKS Partners and later chairman of the defunct USWeb/CKS.

Coca-Cola to be charter advertiser for TiVo

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. agreed to become a charter advertiser of TiVo, giving the world's largest soft-drink company exclusive soda-ad rights to programs shown via TiVo's service on personal TV recorders, said Coca-Cola's VP-director of media and marking assets, Chuck Fruit. TiVo declined to comment. Other TiVo charter advertisers include Philip Morris Cos.' Miller Brewing Co., Pfizer and Toyota Motor Sales USA's Lexus.

DDB Chicago wins Qwest long-distance acc't

[denver] Qwest Communications International tapped Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, for its long-distance ad account following an informal review with incumbent WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Atlanta, and two others, according to people close to the company. JWT will retain branding and business-to-business accounts and DDB will continue its wireless, yellow pages and mass markets. Both agencies referred questions to Qwest. George Burnett, chief marketing officer for Qwest, said through a spokeswoman, "Sometimes we move individual assigments around but we have not changed our relationship with either company."

USOC to launch branding effort

[colorado springs, colo.] The U.S. Olympic Committee is expected to launch its first-ever branding campaign this week during the NBA playoffs on NBC, the network that will broadcast the 2002 Winter Games. The effort is from Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

Marketers support common technology

[cincinnati] Package-goods companies Procter & Gamble Co. and General Mills are announcing today they have joined with MarketTools, WPP and enterprise and market-research systems vendors SAS and SPSS to back MarketTools' zTelligence system as a common online market-research platform.

Zenith Direct signs Conde Nast as first client

[new york] Zenith Direct, a direct-advertising shop being launched by Zenith Media that will be led by Joe Shain, former president of SCP/ Rapp Collins Media, New York, has its first client: Conde Nast Publications. It will work on circulation-distribution for one of the company's magazines. Billings were not disclosed.

Envoy-Leagas fate may be decided this week

[toronto] The fate of Envoy Group's planned acquisition of Leagas Delaney will be decided as early as this week, Envoy President-CEO Geoffrey Genovese said. Envoy's pending deal had stumbled due to Envoy's declining stock price as well as the dot-com fallout on Leagas' San Francisco office. "We have had talks with Leagas Delaney Chairman Bruce Haines and others trying to put the deal together three or four times in the past week," Mr. Genovese said, denying talk the deal was about to fall through.

Angelos named creative director at DMB&B

[troy, mich.] Peter Angelos, 47, has been named executive creative director, Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, North America. Mr. Angelos will work on campaign launch projects for General Motors Corp. and serve as a "high-level resource" for the agency, DMB&B said. Previously, Mr. Angelos was consulting at the shop (Adage.com, May 8). Mr. Angelos most recently was executive creative director at True North Communications' FCB Worldwide, San Francisco.

FYI

Unilever said it's seeking a buyer for Mazola cooking oil, along with other lightly marketed brands in its own portfolio and that of recently acquired Bestfoods. ... Kellogg Co. hopes to have a new African-American agency of record in place by the end of summer for its cereal and snack brands after Publicis Groupe's Burrell Communications Group resigned the account in the wake of winning an AOR assignment from rival General Mills last week. ... Periscope laid off nine staffers in response to the economic slowdown. ... The Department of Defense issued an 85-page RFP for JRAP-its Joint Recruitment Advertising Program. The account must be reviewed every five years. Cordiant's Bates Worldwide, New York, has handled the business for the last 10 years and will defend. ... Coca-Cola USA breaks an outdoor initiative from Ruido Group, New York, in Harlem and Brooklyn. ... Radical Communication laid off 39 employees last week as it prepares to shut down because it ran out of money. ... DoubleClick agreed to buy e-mail marketer MessageMedia for $41 million in stock. ... Novartis' Ciba Vision unit is consolidating its add account with Publicis' Publicis in Mid-America (AdAge.com, May 31). ... AnswerThink is expected to close its Los Angeles office after unsuccessfully attempting to sell it and its Seattle office.

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