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[new york] Schering-Plough is expected to retain Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide on its $200 million direct-to-consumer media account for Claritin and Nasonex, executives close to the review said. Zenith Media and Creative Media also are participating in the review. An announcement is expected next week.

Initiative Media, Botway Group merge

[new york] Botway Group, the independent media planning and buying agency handling about $700 million in Unilever business, finalized its merger with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media last week. The move had been viewed as an attempt by Initiative to strengthen its position in the $525 million domestic Unilever review. The Botway name will be dropped, although its principals will remain with the business, said Botway President Arthur N. Schreibman, who declined to reveal the purchase price.

DirecTV looks for an agency

[el segundo, calif.] Digital satellite service marketer DirecTV has put its account into review. Incumbent Campbell-Ewald, Los Angeles, will participate, as will Deutsch, Los Angeles, which recently won DirecTV's marquee sports package, "NFL Sunday Ticket." GM Mediaworks, Detroit, retains media buying. A DirecTV spokesman said a short list is expected by early May, with a final decision in June. DirecTV said it spent more than $150 million on marketing in 1999. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, is the consultant.

Toys `R' Us reviews dot-com account

[woodcliff lake, n.j.] Toys "R" Us has taken initial steps for a review for its Toysrus.com account, with spending estimated at $25 million. Incumbent Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, which also handles the bricks-and-mortar store business, will participate, an executive familiar with the review said. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., is the consultant.

Burnett wins McDonald's co-op work

[detroit] Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, has won McDonald's Corp.'s Detroit-area franchisee account after a review. The agency now serves 46 McDonald's co-ops, of which the $20 million Detroit account is the largest. Hoffman/Lewis, San Francisco; Integer Group, Denver; and Kragie/Newell, Des Moines, also competed. Incumbent Arnold Communications, Boston, withdrew. A separate decision is expected this week on the Boston-area co-op, which is being defended by Arnold. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and Hoffman/Lewis, San Francisco, also are competing.

Minority media study release postponed

[washington] A year after Vice President Al Gore announced a major study of the government's use of minority ad agencies and media, the release has been put off because "information is incomplete," according to a spokesman for Mr. Gore. The Vice President in February 1999 asked the U.S. Office of Management & Budget to conduct a study of government use of minority ad agencies and media.

Kirshenbaum wins $20 mil account

[new york] Estee Lauder Cos.' Aramis unit has assigned its $20 million Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries account to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. The brand had been at AG Worldwide until last year.

SAG/AFTRA delays talks deadline

[new york] The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have extended their contract negotiation deadline to mid-April from March 31, in a dispute between commercial actors and the advertising industry. One point of disagreement is that the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies, representing advertisers, want to pay actors a fixed fee for a single network commercial no matter how many times it airs. Previously, the ANA agreement paid actors a fee for each spot's airing of a commercial.

Primedia teams with CMGI, Liberty Media Corp.

[new york] Primedia last week announced partnerships with online company CMGI and John Malone's Liberty Media Corp. Each will take a 5% stake in Primedia. In exchange for CMGI's stake, Primedia receives 1.53 million shares of CMGI. Liberty will invest $200 million in cash in Primedia.

Interpublic acquires stake in Japan's Daiko Advertising

[london] Interpublic Group of Cos. has agreed to buy up to 20% of Daiko Advertising, Japan's No. 4 ad agency. The shop then will ally with Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide to represent the agency in Japan and gain access to the Lowe Lintas network around the world. Daiko had billings of $1.4 billion in 1998.

Insurance.com launches first campaign from Mullen

[newton, mass.] Insurance.com Insurance Agency, which allows consumers to comparison shop for auto, health, home and life insurance online, breaks its first campaign today in Cleveland and in Sacramento, Calif. Insurance.com is a unit of Fidelity Investments. Spending for the campaign is estimated at less than $10 million. This is the first work from Mullen, Wenham.

F.Y.I.

Ian McGregor, exec VP-managing director of Campbell-Ewald, Los Angeles, will join McCann-Erickson's Los Angeles office as general manager. He succeeds Hank Wasiak, who is moving to McCann in Europe. Tony Hopp, chairman of Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., denied rumors the Los Angeles office would be closed. . . . Deutsch, New York, has dropped out of the review for XM Satellite Radio's $100 million marketing account. McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Wieden & Kennedy, as well as TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., are still in contention for the account, expected to be awarded in mid-April. . . . Gotham, New York, last week acquired Angotti, Thomas, Hedge as expected. Gotham Chairman-CEO F. Stone Roberts, who retains that title, said billings for the combined shop will be $520 million. Angotti Chairman-CEO Tony Angotti will retire.

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