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Layoffs likely as P&G misses job-cut target

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. is about 1,000 voluntary separation applications short of its target for 17,400 job reductions, meaning layoffs are likely. P&G would not comment on where cuts will occur, though people familiar with the situation said marketing director and market research positions are likely to be among those targeted.

President-CEO departs from Aspen Marketing

[los angeles] Neal Vitale, president-CEO of the fourth-largest marketing services agency, Aspen Marketing Group, Los Angeles, stepped down to return to the publishing industry. The longtime magazine executive said he plans to enter business-to-business publishing and is looking to acquire print properties and newsletters.

Senate confirms Muris as chairman of FTC

[washington] The U.S. Senate on May 25 confirmed Timothy Muris' nomination as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, meaning Mr. Muris, a college professor who during the Reagan era headed both the advertising and the antitrust side of the FTC, will succeed Robert Pitofsky next week. The Senate also confirmed the nomination of three members of the Federal Communications Commission.

Tennessee delays decision on possible ad tax

[nashville, tenn.] The Tennessee Legislature put off until this week a decision on new state taxes, with possibilities of a service tax or sales tax on advertising still in the mix of options being considered. Legislators are also considering the state's first individual income tax and gross receipts taxes.

Saab breaks new campaign over weekend

[norcross, ga.] General Motors Corp.'s Saab Cars USA broke a TV commercial on national cable networks over the weekend. The work is the first since the Swedish car importer consolidated its global account at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Brindfors, Stockholm. Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York, edited its sibling shop's spot for the 9-3 convertible for the U.S. The execution drops the global umbrella "Saab versus" ad theme, handled by Lowe Brindfors and the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., which arrived in early 1999.

Ford signs deal with Gemstar-TV Guide

[new york] Gemstar-TV Guide International has signed an 18-month ad deal with Ford Motor Co. to advertise on its Interactive Program Guide platform. The deal, made via WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, marks Ford's largest commitment yet in promotions in the digital TV arena, Gemstar-TV Guide said. The interactive platform seeks to help viewers navigate the emerging digital TV universe. It is available in 12 million TV households. Terms were not disclosed.

Networks finish tight race for 18-49 category

[new york] Three broadcast networks are claiming good results for the just-completed broadcast season-one of the tightest ever in terms of ratings performance. General Electric Co.'s NBC won the key adults 18-49 race, Viacom's CBS led with overall viewers, and News Corp's Fox took the adults 18-34 crown-it was also the most improved of any of the big four networks across a number of areas. In the most important 18-49 category, NBC scored a Nielsen 4.8 rating/13 share, barely beating out Fox's 4.5/12, which grew 7% year-to-year in the category. CBS also grew 7% in the adults 18-49 to a 4.0/11. But the eye network still sits in fourth place behind Walt Disney Co.'s ABC's 4.4/12, which sank 20% year-to-year. (See AdAge.com for more.)

Panasonic expected to name Kaplan Thaler

[secaucus n.j.] Panasonic, a division of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., is expected to name Bcom3 Group's Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, as agency for its electric shavers account. A Panasonic executive said only that the company will decide this week between two finalists-Kaplan Thaler and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York-but people familiar with the decision said Kirshenbaum had been dropped. Warwick Baker O'Neill, New York, previously handled the $10 million account.

Omnicom readies PentaMark consolidation

[troy, mich.] Omnicom Group's recently formed PentaMark Worldwide is readying the consolidation of its marketing services sibling, InterOne Marketing Group, into its agency, PentaMark. Chrysler Group's dedicated agency is incorporating all its Chrysler agencies, including BBDO Worldwide, under its name after winning the carmaker's consolidated global creative and media accounts. Morale is said to be low at the shops as staff expect as many as 225 layoffs (AA, Jan 15). A top BBDO executive declined to comment. InterOne's Jack Oliver, exec VP-managing director of global services, accepted an early retirement deal last week, as did BBDO's Bill Hackett, exec VP-director of strategic planning.

FYI

As reported on AdAge.com, Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald laid off between 1% and 2% from its 1,314 work force. ... Bacardi USA next month will launch an $8 million print campaign for Limon, the second in the spirit's five-year history.True North Communications' Avrett Free & Ginsberg, New York, handles. ... Israel Tourism Ministry's $3.5 million advertising review has been narrowed to five contenders, said a spokesman at the ministry. Incumbent shop Christy MacDougall Mitchell, New York, is in the lineup, according to a spokesman. ... The Energizer Bunny will live on in TV and Internet ads and newspaper and in-store coupons breaking this fall for Energizer Max, the improved version of Energizer Corp.'s base brand. The company has yet to announce an agency assignment for the brand. ... The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws strongly objected to the Advertising Council's request for a waiver from any requirement that viewers be specifically told public service ads are sponsored by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. ... Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine, North America, has given branding and design firm Powell, New York, work for three spirit brands, including Beefeater gin. ... Gap Inc. quietly has begun to contact advertising agencies for an assignment for GapKids and babyGap stores, an executive familiar with the situation said. ... AOL Time Warner's TNT and NBC have sold ad time during their coverage of Nascar starting in July to a range of sponsors who also have their names attached to individual races. The list of brands includes: Pepsi, Tropicana, Carquest Auto Parts, NAPA Auto Care, Mountain Dew, Sharpie, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, UAW-General Motors, Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn and Pennzoil. ... True North's FCB Worldwide, Chicago, promoted Danny Schuman, 38, and Joe Burke, 39, to VP-group creative directors. ... Norman Vale, director-general of the International Advertising Association, joins Morgan Anderson Consulting as managing director of the firm's new affiliate, Morgan Anderson International. ... Two privacy groups have asked the Federal Trade Commission to declare Ask Jeeves' purchase of major assets of ETour a violation of consumer protection laws because ETour had a privacy policy promising not to share customer information with third parties.

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