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HP decreases its ad spending by about 20

[palo alto, calif.] Hewlett-Packard Co. has pared ad spending by some 20%, according to an executive familiar with the matter. HP last week reported second-quarter revenue fell 4% from last year to $11.6 billion. At the start of HP's fiscal year in November, HP expected a modest rise in its $200 million global brand budget. Slowing growth in the tech sector and the economy forced a re-evaluation, the executive said. HP did not return calls by press time. Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, handles HP's global brand advertising; Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, coordinates ads for HP's business printers and other enterprise products.

I-shop Digitas explores possibility of sale

[boston] I-shop Digitas is quietly shopping the company, potentially to a larger marketing services entity, people familiar with the company said last week. A spokeswoman for Digitas said that the company wouldn't comment. An official at Hellman & Friedman, the San Francisco private-equity firm that owns 67.3% of the company, also declined to comment. Digitas closed at $6.50 in trading May 18. It currently has a market cap of $381 million.

Sony to spend $250 mil on PlayStation titles

[los angeles] Sony Computer Entertainment America will spend $250 million on advertising and marketing software titles for its PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 video-game consoles. As it prepares to battle Microsoft Corp.'s new Xbox console, Sony will aggressively promote the depth and breadth of its game catalog, an area it believes will be Microsoft's weakness. Among the flagship Sony titles that will receive hefty support are: "Twisted Metal Black," "Grand Turismo 3," "Dark Cloud" and a new U.S. Navy Seals game that can be played online as well as on the console. The first new-games advertising begins this week, followed by another round slated for July 10. Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey and San Francisco, handles advertising for SCEA.

Microsoft to tout Xbox with roadshow

[los angeles] Microsoft Corp. will support its Xbox video-game console with a 45-city road show designed to give gamers and retailers an opportunity to play and promote the unit, which is in stores Nov. 8. The mobile tour, tentatively dubbed "Max-Mobile Assault Experience," will be staged beneath inflatable domes atop trailers and will help retailers build buzz for the Xbox with radio station tie-ins and sampling opportunities. The tour will likely begin in San Francisco the weekend before the product launch, hitting about eight cities through December before picking up in 2002. Microsoft's tie-in with Tricon Global Restaurants' Taco Bell will involve software title and console promotions. The estimated four to five-week promotion will feature a different offer each week at Taco Bell. The fast-food chain will spend $20 million to $30 million on national advertising and marketing to support the Xbox tie-in.

Saatchi denies talk of SF closing

[san francisco] Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi will not be closing its office here despite persistent reports to the contrary, the agency's executives said last week. Julie Bauer, the agency's managing partner, said the shop's closure, merger with another Publicis entity or other disposition "hadn't even been considered." However, several of the advertising agency's employees have been contacting the heads of other agencies in both Northern California and Southern California, saying they have been told the San Francisco office is closing. Ms. Bauer indicated the shop has about $60 million in billings. The office's accounts include Procter & Gamble Co. work, Barclays Global Investors and Knight Ridder's San Jose Mercury News.

Joan Rivers, Ben Stein get mad for Glad

[oakland, calif.] Clorox Co. launches a new take on its long-running "Don't Get Mad, Get Glad" campaign today from Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, San Francisco, with TV and radio ads featuring the E! network's Joan Rivers and Comedy Central personality Ben Stein. Both appear as "mad" characters alongside actress Melanie Deanne Moore, who plays their "glad" foil. The ads are part of a new celebrity-oriented approach that ultimately will extend to other Glad products, Clorox said.

Burnett, Starcom win McDonald's biz

[freeport, maine] The MCMOA Co-op of McDonald's Corp. franchisees moved its creative and media account to Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA and Starcom, both Chicago, following a shootout with incumbent Havas Advertising's Arnold Worldwide, Boston. The assignment covers 14 owner operators and 66 restaurants and puts the combined co-op business handled by Burnett and its field marketing affiliate Moroch Associates to 51 co-ops representing more than 3,700 restaurants. The account will be handled out of Burnett's Boston outpost.

Vote set on access to student information

[washington] The U.S. Senate, considering a major education bill, is expected to vote this week on an amendment that could limit information schools could provide to marketers. Sponsored by U.S. Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) and backed by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y), the Student Privacy Protection Act would require school districts to get parents permission before giving any information to marketers, even if individual students are not identified. The Association of National Advertisers has sent senators a letter opposing the legislation.

McCann-Erickson wins Magnum acc't

[london] Unilever is moving the $45 million global account for Magnum ice cream bars to McCann-Erickson Worldwide from Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, both Interpublic Group of Cos. agencies. The switch is part of an ongoing reshuffling of accounts by Unilever to consolidate its agencies around a core group of master brands.

Digital Convergence, NBC to launch promo

[new york] Digital: Convergence Corp. and one of its partners, General Electric Co.'s NBC, are launching a monthlong TV promotion starting May 24, called "NBCIQ," a trivia sweepstakes testing consumers knowledge of NBC programs. Some 1,000 gross rating points in promos will be placed on the NBC Television network, NBC's cable networks, and other media, through NBC's in-house agency, The NBC agency. Digital: Convergence allows consumers to easily link the TV with the computer and the Internet. As part of the promotion, some 3 million pieces of software will be given away free at retail stores of Radio Shack Corp., another partner in Digital: Convergence. One million consumers have already installed the software. Some $400,000 in prizes will be given away with the promotion.

Nortel agencies won't pursue int'l pact

[dallas] Nortel Networks agencies DDB Worldwide, New York, and Temerlin-McClain, Irving, Texas, confirmed they are no longer pursuing an international service agreement on the account. The agencies had previously announced the deal, during which time they were "very close" to striking an acquisition deal, according to executives close to the agencies. It is unclear how the accounts now will be shared. It was planned that Temerlin would manage the global account and use DDB's international agency network overseas. While neither agency would comment on why the deal fell through, one person close to Temerlin believed a key factor was the pending acquisition of Temerlin's parent company True North Communications by Interpublic.

California holds review for energy campaign

[sacramento, calif.] The California Department of Consumer Affairs, hoping to help the state grapple with its energy crisis, has launched a review for a $45 million energy conservation campaign. An initial campaign was awarded on a temporary basis to Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles, agency for the state's lottery but also agency for one of the state's two major energy providers, Southern California Edison.


Dial Corp. tapped Cramer-Krasselt, Phoenix, to handle branding, advertising and public relations for Purex, Custom Cleaner and Zout brands after a review. Spending is estimated at under $10 million. ... Experian, a provider of data-driven relationship marketing services, acquired e-mail marketing unit Exactis from 24/7 Media for $13.5 million. ... Havas Advertising expects to close its deal to buy i-shop in the third quarter, paying $1.27 a share. ... Credit Suisse First Boston Direct picked Havas' Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, as its agency of record. ... Energy drink Power Horse tapped Frierson Mee & Partners, New York, as its U.S. agency of record ... Independent shop Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., has been awarded Coca-Cola Co.'s $32 million PowerAde business.

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