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Unilever, Sony ink global marketing deal

[london] Unilever and Sony Corp. will announce a multimillion-dollar global strategic alliance this week that includes joint marketing opportunities across Sony properties. While details are being closely guarded, the deal could involve development of TV programming or even new channels, new ways of promoting and distributing both companies' brands and pooling of consumer research. "We're looking to develop joint marketing initiatives using all of Sony's [communication] platforms," said Alan Rutherford, Unilever's worldwide media director.

Burnett pulls out of Compaq contest

[houston] Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, confirmed it has dropped out of the review for Compaq Computer Corp.'s estimated $300 million account. The company is set to discuss a strategy brief with agency contenders this week which include: incumbent DDB Worldwide and its interactive arm DDB Digital, Grey Advertising, and FCB Worldwide, New York.

Loss shutters Lowe Lintas office

[chicago] Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, which has lost its $85 million Ameritech business due to its parent SBC Communications' continuing account consolidation (AA, Nov. 22), will close its Chicago service office May 31. Ameritech is believed to be heading to GSD&M, Austin, Texas, which recently won the telco's media buying account. Lowe Lintas' Chicago office was established to handle Ameritech. Some of the office's 50 employees will participate in a new Chicago-based joint venture between the agency and promo shop Zipatoni Co., St. Louis. The venture will be called Lowe Lintas Zipatoni.

McCann, Berlin vie for X-Box

[redmond, wash.] Microsoft Corp. agency McCann-Erickson/A&L, New York and San Francisco, and Berlin, Cameron & Partners, New York, are in the review for the software giant's estimated $100 million X-Box videogame console account. The marketer declined to comment on contenders. People close to the situation say McCann is poised to add the work to its Microsoft portfolio.

BDM reaches deal with Dentsu

[chicago] BDM will hold a news conference March 14 to announce its new name and give details of Dentsu's role in the new holding company, created by the merger of Leo Group and the MacManus Group. In an internal memo last week, BDM CEO Roger Haupt said an agreement with Dentsu was expected to close today. "They will not only become major shareholders, but they will also partner with us on a number of exciting business-building projects," he wrote. Dentsu will take about a 20% stake in BDM.

WebMiles picks Goldberg as 1st agency

[provo, utah] WebMiles.com chose Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, as first agency. The company, which offers a loyalty program with unrestricted miles redeemable for free travel, has indicated it has a marketing budget of $50 million.

AstraZeneca narrows review to four

[wilmington, del.] AstraZeneca has winnowed contenders to four in a $40 million media buying and planning review for Nexium, the successor to blockbuster heartburn drug Prilosec, an executive close to the situation said. The request for proposals on the account created a tempest among some media executives who felt it asked for too much proprietary information (AA, Feb. 21).

Juno trims review to three agencies

[new york] Juno Online Services, provider of both free and paid Internet service, has narrowed the review for its $20 million account to incumbent DDB Worldwide, Wolfe Group and Hampel/Stefanides, all New York. AAR/Bob Wolf Partners, New York and Los Angeles, is the consultant.

Draft Worldwide secures majority stake in AG Worldwide

[chicago] No. 2 direct marketing agency Draft Worldwide has acquired a majority stake in AG Worldwide, New York, and its subsidiary, Surge Interactive. The acquisitions will allow Draft to offer more general brand advertising and interactive expertise to clients.

Cellular One activates $8 mil cable campaign

[dallas] Cellular One Group today launches an estimated $8 million cable campaign that abandons its 7-year-old "Clear across America" tag and focuses on people with really bad luck. The campaign shows people stranded in inconvenient locations. Publicis, Dallas, handles.

F.Y.I.

Phil Guarascio returned to work as VP-general manager-marketing and advertising for North American Operations at General Motors Corp. for several hours March 9 and will return this week. He underwent a triple-bypass Feb. 2. . . . Hasbro's Games.com to Arnold Ingalls Moranville, San Francisco, as first agency; the online game site is expected to spend $20 million advertising its launch this year. . . . Lipton next month will take its Cold Brew Blend iced tea bags national, with ads from J. Walter Thompson USA, New York. . . . The Wood Initiative, a consortium of paper and wood manufacturers, has named seven in the review for the first agency for its $15 million account: Asher & Partners and Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles; Bozell, Chicago; Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis; Mering & Associates, Sacramento, Calif.; Rouche Macaulay & Partners, Toronto; and WongDoody, Seattle. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., is the consultant. . . . Monster.com has tapped PreVision Marketing, Lincoln, Mass., to handle the online job search company's direct marketing, previously done in-house. . . . Bob Scarpelli, 47, to U.S. chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide. He remains vice chairman and chief creative officer of the agency's Chicago office. . . . Alan G. Spoon, The Washington Post Co.'s president-chief operating officer and a director, will leave the company to become a general partner in venture capital company Polaris Venture Partners, Boston. . . . Bacardi USA is looking for an agency to handle its estimated $1 million B&B liqueur account. Former agency was Amster Yard, New York. . . . Allied Domecq's Callaway Vineyards & Winery to Open Minds, Laguna Beach, Calif., as first agency for the superpremium wine brand's estimated $1 million account.

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