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Burger King nears choice for its $400 mil account

[miami] Burger King Corp. is expected as early as today to pick a creative agency for its $400 million account, formerly at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York. A person close to the search committee said Burger King had picked Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. There were other indications McCann was the favorite, though insiders at finalists McCann, Interpublic's Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York, late week all believed they were still in the game. The committee was meeting with franchisee representatives late Friday. A Burger King spokeswoman declined to comment.

Heneghan brothers will leave posts at Giant Step

[chicago] Bcom3 Group's Giant Step CEO Eric Heneghan and his brother Adam, the company's president, are leaving the Chicago-based Internet professional-services company. Bcom3's Leo Burnett acquired an equity stake in the company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bcom3 Group, in 1996. Eric Heneghan founded the company in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1990, was joined by his brother two years later and then moved the company to Chicago. Eric Heneghan said he was "not prepared to comment" about his departure. A Leo Burnett spokeswoman said the Heneghan brothers parted on amicable terms.

Movie studios reveal Super Bowl plans

[los angeles] MGM Distribution Co., which recently bought a Super Bowl spot, will tout expected hit "Hannibal," the sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs." Universal Pictures will push out "The Mummy Returns." Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. also bought advertising ad time in the game on CBS. Marketing execs believe Disney will advertise its big summer event picture, "Pearl Harbor." Sony Pictures Entertainment bought one 30-second spot for "A Knight's Tale," which debuts June 1.

Sony Pictures review will take 6-8 weeks

[los angeles] Sony Pictures Entertainment's review for its $298 million account should take six to eight weeks, according to Jeff Blake, president of the company's worldwide marketing and distribution. Longtime incumbent Universal McCann, New York, is in the running, as well as Zenith Media Services, New York, and Carat North America, Los Angeles, according to media executives.

Guinness splits global beer account

[london] Guinness is splitting its global beer account between Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi after a review intended to pick a single worldwide agency. AMV/BBDO, already Guinness' U.K. agency, picks up additional business in the U.S. and Europe and will handle the bulk of the account-about $70 million. Saatchi, responsible for Africa, adds Asia. Previously, Guinness worked with six agencies, including Weiss, Stagliano & Partners, New York, for North America.

S. C. Johnson extends Grab-It

[racine, wis.] S.C. Johnson & Sons is extending its Pledge Grab-It electrostatic duster line with a dusting mitt designed to be worn on the hand and a lemon-scented version of regular Grab-It cloths. Both products will ship to retailers Feb. 1, with TV and print ads from FCB Worldwide, Chicago, expected to break in April.

Matsushita plans to revamp its image

[secaucus, n.j.] Matsushita Electric Industrial Corp. of America is ramping up a corporate image ad effort for the U.S. that will debut in the fourth quarter of 2001, said Bob Greenberg, VP-communications for Matsushita's Panasonic brand. The U.S. image effort by Grey Worldwide, New York, will be the first time Matsushita has created a unified brand advertising campaign. When Matsushita reorganizes into four business segments on April 1, the start of its new fiscal year, Mr. Greenberg said he expects to conduct a review for a brand consultancy to help refine Matsushita's new brand positioning.

WPP Group acquires Imaginet

[london] WPP Group acquired Minneapolis-based Imaginet, a 100-person firm specializing in Internet professional services, which will operate as a division of J. Walter Thompson (AdAge.com, Dec. 15).

AAAA names O'Brien top D.C. lobbyist

[washington] The American Association of Advertising Agencies this week names veteran ad exec Richard F. O'Brien top Washington lobbyist, succeeding Hal Shoup. Mr. O'Brien, most recently exec VP of the Special Olympics, worked extensively for Grey Advertising and Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide. Mr. O'Brien will assume the post upon Mr. Shoup's March 31 retirement.

FYI

Martin J. Ross III, 42, was named publisher of Crain Communications' Business Insurance, New York, from associate publisher and advertising director. He succeeds Kathryn J. McIntyre, former publisher and editorial director, who assumes the new post of publishing director. Crain also owns Ad Age. ... Christina Ferrari, founding managing editor of Teen People, is resigning her post, according to an internal memo released to staffers by Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editorial director. Ms. Ferrari, 35, was Ad Age's editor of the year in 1999. ... The American Advertising Federation named the four newest members of its Advertising Hall of Fame. They are Reginald Brack, former chairman-CEO of Time; Peter Georgescu, former chairman-CEO of Young & Rubicam; Patricia Martin, former director of marketing support for Warner-Lambert Co. and William S. Paley, former chairman of the board of CBS. ... Hachette Filipacchi Magazines pulled the plug on George, the general-interest political magazine started up by the late John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1995. ... With its stock price faltering and some of its top executives leaving, Stamford, Conn.-based Priceline.com no longer plans to use "Star Trek" luminary William Shatner as its pitchman, people close to the situation said.

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