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Virgin Mobile USA opens $80 mil review

[san francisco] Virgin Mobile USA, a new wireless division of Virgin Group, is seeking an ad agency for an account anticipated at $80 million, executives familiar with the situation said. A number of Los Angeles and San Francisco shops are participating. Virgin last year launched a wireless business in the U.K., and plans other ventures in Australia, Asia and Europe.

AT&T set to give FCB $100 mil acc't

[basking ridge, n.j.] Beleaguered AT&T Corp. is poised to expand its relationship with FCB Worldwide, New York, awarding the agency ad duties for the estimated new $50 million to $100 million account for its Business Services Division after a two-month review. The review involved AT&T roster shop Y&R Advertising, New York as well as Schifino Lee, Tampa, Fla., and FCB. The latter two have done project work for the unit. AT&T and the agencies declined to comment or confirm the decision.

BMW seeks shop for U.S. Mini launch

[munich] BMW is expected to begin a search for an advertising agency this week to handle the 2002 U.S. launch of the Mini. Consultancy Richard Roth Associates is expected to handle the review. Mr. Roth declined to comment.

Burger King seeks regal positioning

[miami] Burger King Corp., planning to focus on the Whopper, is asking the six finalists in its $400 million creative review how to make it truly king of the burger. Contenders will make presentations the week of Oct. 23, with a decision possible by yearend. The chain believes its image has been clouded in recent years by focusing on a number of other products, an executive familiar with the review said. Finalists are Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis; Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and New York agencies Grey Worldwide, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide.

Jenny Craig cuts list in $25 mil review

[los angeles] Jenny Craig Inc. narrowed the list of agencies vying for its estimated $25 million account to four. Those still in the running include Campbell-Ewald and incumbent Suissa Miller here; Doner, Southfield, Mich., and Newport Beach, Calif.; and Siltanen/Keehn, El Segundo.

Times Mirror minimum bid $400 mil

[new york] Four finalists that met the $400 million minimum-bid requirement now play a waiting game to see which will walk off with Tribune Co.'s Times Mirror Magazines. The finalists which bid by the Oct. 10 deadline are Emap USA, The New York Times Co., Time Inc. and American Media. Those familiar with the process expected the final sale price to be below the $500 million-plus previously suspected. All the bidding companies and Tribune Co. declined to comment or didn't return calls.

OMD seeks CEO; drops Unilever bid

[new york] Omnicom Group's Optimum Media Direction Worldwide is conducting a search for a CEO, a position that will be vacated by Daryl Simm as he concentrates on his duties as CEO of Optimum Media Group, an umbrella company for Omnicom's media operations OMD and PhD. In an unrelated development, OMD dropped out of Unilever's estimated $525 million review approximately one month ago, according to an OMD executive. The list is down to Initiative Media Worldwide and MindShare.

Xenical won by Y&R's Media Marketing

[nutley, n.j.] Hoffmann-La Roche awarded general media-buying duties for fat-fighting drug Xenical to Media Marketing Solutions, New York, which also retained influenza drug Tamiflu, according to Loretta Volpe, president-CEO of the shop. Combined, the accounts are estimated at $50 million. Media Marketing is a small agency owned by Young & Rubicam that handles accounts that its Media Edge unit cannot. Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, handled media for Xenical's launch.

Imagine Media set to launch business-lifestyle title `fuse'

[san francisco] Imagine Media will launch fuse, a "business lifestyle" magazine. The debut issue will be bundled into the Dec. 12 issue of Business 2.0. The title will come out every other month next year as a standalone, and current plans will bring it to 10 times a year in 2002.

DoubleClick stock drops 31% after 4th-quarter projections

[new york] DoubleClick's stock crashed 31% Oct. 13 to $12.44, its lowest point since 1998, after it disclosed fourth-quarter results will be below expectations and warned of a slowdown in Internet ad sales it expects to see through the first quarter. The Internet ad network's stock lost half its value last week, joining another Internet bellwether, Yahoo!, in a slump amid concerns about the outlook for Web advertising. Yahoo! was down 26% for the week.

American Eagle Outfitters seeks shop for $8 mil account

[warrendale, pa.] American Eagle Outfitters has contacted agencies about its ad account, anticipated to be $7 million to $8 million. The retailer in April hired McElroy FCB, Newport Beach, Calif., as media and creative agency following a review.

F.Y.I.

Vivendi and Seagram Co.'s $30 billion merger received approval by the European Commission Oct. 13 after Vivendi agreed to sell its 20% stake in U.K. pay-TV group British Sky Broadcasting Group. The joint company is to be called Vivendi Universal. . . . Nestle USA to Publicis, Dallas, from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., for the $20 million account for its recently acquired PowerBar brand. . . . J. Walter Thompson Co. has moved its West Coast headquarters from San Francisco to Los Angeles, naming Los Angeles President Peter Stranger, 51, CEO of J. Walter Thompson West. Mr. Stranger succeeds Larry Tolpin, who has left the company, a spokesman said. . . . Pennzoil Quaker State Co. was ordered by a federal judge to pull its recent campaign from GSD&M, Austin, Texas, that features quarterback Brett Favre and includes claims its product is superior to other motor oils. Pennzoil said it plans to appeal. Competitor Castrol North America filed the suit, alleging the ads were false and misleading.

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