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Kids upfront expected to get under way today

[new york] The kids upfront advertising market is finally expected to break today, with the Cartoon Network hoping to pull in some small single-digit percent increases, and the Kids WB not far behind. Overall, the market could be flat to slightly down from the $800 million spent last year. Next week, adult TV programming will begin moving. Early estimates expect bullish pricing for network programming and syndication, with increases averaging 12% to 17% for returning programming.

Citibank launches $48 mil review

[new york] Citigroup has put Citibank's $48 million U.S. advertising account in review, three years after consolidating the bank's $500 million global business at Y&R Advertising. Y&R will retain the account outside the U.S., while sister shop Impiric keeps direct marketing. Citigroup officials began quietly contacting agencies in March, leading to speculation that the bank planned to change its roster (AA, March 13).

Hemp joins TBWA/Chiat/Day defectors

[santa monica, calif.] Joe Hemp, 37, just named April 13 as creative director on the Nissan U.S. business at TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., has joined start-up Siltanen/Keehn as group creative director. Mr. Hemp is the fourth senior creative to leave TBWA/Chiat/Day since Rob Siltanen left to set up his own shop four months ago.

Toys `R' Us trims review to 8 shops

[woodcliff lake, n.j.] Toys "R" Us has narrowed the review for the anticipated $25 million account for its Toysrus.com Web site to eight agencies, among them incumbent Leo Burnett USA, Chicago; Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco; and McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Ogilvy & Mather, both Los Angeles. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., is the consultant.

Duracell readies Ultra MP3 batteries

[boston] Gillette Co. will launch Duracell Ultra MP3, an upgraded version of its premium-price Ultra line, in September. Ads from BBDO Worldwide, New York, are expected to break later in the fall. MP3 batteries will last twice as long as ordinary alkaline batteries in camcorders and handheld personal computers, said Chairman-CEO Michael C. Hawley.

TSR Wireless narrows $10 mil review

[dallas] TSR Wireless is narrowing its agency list in the search for an agency to handle its $10 million account. Shops present this week, with a list of six East Coast semifinalists expected by week's end. Pile & Co., Boston, is handling the search for the telco's first agency of record.

21st Century Insurance picks Winkler

[woodland hills, calif.] 21st Century Insurance Group hired Winkler, San Francisco, for its corporate ad account, estimated at $5 million to $10 million. Work was previously done on a project basis by several shops. Winkler will create a campaign to promote the insurer's new identity, said a spokesman. The company changed its name from 20th Century Insurance at the end of 1999.

Homestead cuts $20 mil review to 3

[menlo park, calif.] Homestead.com, a site that allows users to build their own Web pages, has narrowed the review for its anticipated $20 million account to Citron Haligman Bedecarre, Publicis & Hal Riney and TBWA/Chiat/Day, all San Francisco. Swirl, San Francisco, was the previous agency.

Colgate readies whitening toothpaste

[new york] Colgate-Palmolive Co. will launch next month Colgate Sparkling White, a whitening toothpaste in tartar control or baking soda and peroxide versions. Sparkling White will reach stores May 8, priced at the same level as Colgate's Total, $2.99 per 6-ounce tube, backed by TV, print and online ads. Y&R Advertising is Colgate's agency.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield opens national effort targeting women

[chicago] Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association today launches a national image campaign targeting women to portray the Blue Cross card as a valuable resource in managing family health. The effort from FCB Worldwide includes four 30-second spots and four print ads; it will run during the spring and fall enrollment periods.

F.Y.I.

Sony Computer Entertainment America downplayed recent reports suggesting export restrictions could delay the U.S. launch of the PlayStation 2 videogame console, manufactured in Japan. A spokeswoman said a fall launch is planned. Export restrictions exist on so-called supercomputers, which can be altered for military applications. . . . National Pork Producers Council plans to evolve its long-running "Pork: The other white meat" campaign. The new ads will be unveiled April 25 from Bozell, Chicago. . . . MangoSoft Corp. has narrowed a review to Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas; and New York shops Doremus & Co., Gotham and Grey Worldwide, for the software marketer's $20 million to $25 million account. Welch Nehlen & Groome, Garden City, N.Y., was the incumbent. Pile & Co., Boston, is handling. . . . EMC Corp. this week launches a $20 million branding campaign from Arnold Communications, Boston, for the data storage powerhouse. Four spots will run on business and sports programs, one breaking April 23 and the rest on May 1. They carry the new tag: "Where information lives." . . . Ziff Davis Media, under new owner James D. Dunning, agreed to rejoin the American Business Press, which the company withdrew from last year. . . . Stacy Bettman to publisher, Hearst Magazines' Victoria, from publisher, Country Living's Healthy Living, which was shut down. She succeeds Alan Waxenberg, who is retiring. . . . Steve Soldano, 40, to the new post of president-chief operating officer of New York-based Optimedia International's U.S. operations, from partner-director of media services at Deutsch, New York. . . . 800.com this week launches a new tagline in its first campaign from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. The campaign, for the online retailer's new Sony store within its online store, is tagged "Changing the way people buy electronics." Ads in national newspapers break today.

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