Top creative on Microsoft leaves McCann/A&L
[san francisco] Steve Sweitzer has resigned as executive creative director at McCann-Erickson/A&L, where he led the $300 million to $350 million Microsoft Corp. account. He had just completed a campaign for MSN.com.
Wunderman picks new name: Empiric
[new york] Wunderman Cato Johnson will be renamed Empiric, possibly as soon as this week. As previously reported (AA, Feb. 14), the Young & Rubicam direct marketing division is attempting to reposition itself as an integrated customer relationship operation.
U.K. court tosses TN-Publicis suit
[london] The London Court of International Arbitration dismissed a $106 million claim for damages against Publicis Communications by True North Communications last week. The suit stemmed from the two groups' failed partnership. "I can only regret that the former management of True North thought it useful to undertake such a procedure," said Publicis CEO Maurice Levy. True North has sold its stake in Publicis, while Publicis retains a 10.6% stake in True North.
NetRatings to track Web at work
[milpitas, calif.] Nielsen/NetRatings is expanding its Internet audience and ad measurement to include work PCs with a 7,000-member work panel whose Web surfing will be tracked. The move will make NetRatings more competitive with rival Media Metrix, which already tracks home and work traffic.
Snyder bidding could end this week
[bethesda, md.] A decision could come as early as this week in the bidding for Snyder Communications, according to executives close to the negotiations. Havas Advertising, Paris, is believed to be the leading bidder.
Online pharmacy moves to Bates
[seattle] Internet pharmacy CVS.com has consolidated its advertising account with Bates USA, New York, which handles advertising for the CVS drugstore chain. Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, had handled soma.com, which CVS purchased last year.
DaimlerChrysler previews PT Cruiser ads
[phoenix] Executives from DaimlerChrysler and FCB Worldwide's Southfield, Mich., office showed select dealers here last week launch spots for the all-new Chrysler PT Cruiser. FCB has created six different commercials for the retro car. The estimated $50 million U.S. media push is due in April.
Netpliance switches account to BBDO
[san antonio] Netpliance hired BBDO Worldwide, New York, as agency of record, without a review. McGarrah/Jesse Austin, Texas, is the previous agency for the Internet company, which broke its first campaign on last month's Super Bowl broadcast. A spokesman for BBDO and McGarrah/Jesse partner Mark McGarrah each confirmed the agency switch.
Aurora begins audit, parts with execs
[san francisco] Aurora Foods on Feb. 18 accepted the resignations of four senior executives, including Chairman-CEO Ian R. Wilson, as the company begins an investigation of internal accounting practices with auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers. The company, which markets Lender's bagels and Mrs. Butterworth's brands, said in a statement that it expects the probe to result in a charge against 1999 earnings.
Hershey introduces three extensions to candy lines
[hershey, pa.] Hershey Foods Corp. this spring will launch a trio of line extensions. New Twizzlers Twist-n-Fill, chewy, fruit-filled licorice, ships in May and will be backed by a TV and print campaign from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, beginning in July. A new full-size version of Kit Kat called Big Kat will receive print and TV ads in June. For new Jolly Rancher Chewmongus, shipping in late May, Hershey will use promotions and its Internet site (hersheys.com) to supplement an overall Jolly Ranchers brand campaign that bows in April.
Western Initiative Media announces a new name
[west hollywood, calif.] Interpublic Group of Cos.' Western Initiative Media Worldwide said it is dropping Western, changing its name to Initiative Media Worldwide. Its five U.S. offices also will be converted into separate business units.
PetPlace.com named BBDO Worldwide, New York, as first agency of record for its estimated $25 million account. BBDO will handle creative and media planning and buying for the new petcare Web site. A campaign is expected in May. . . . Activision, a marketer of console and PC-based videogames, to D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles, from Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif. Spending is estimated at $15 million to $20 million. . . . Bill Apfelbaum, chairman-CEO of Infinity Broadcasting's Transit Diplays International, New Yor, said he is resigning as of May 1, and also will leave his position as head of CBS Plus. No successor has been named. . . . John Heins, 39, resigned as president-CEO of Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing, New York, to join an undisclosed Internet company. . . .
John Hage, 37, to VP-group creative director, Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, from a free-lancer. Previously, Mr. Hage had been a creative director at BBDO West, Los Angeles. . . . Jamie Mambro, 42, to partner and creative director, a new position at Square One Advertising, Dallas, from an independent consultant. . . . Susan Blank to publisher, Fairchild Publications' W, New York, from publisher of Hachette Filipacchi Magazines' Mirabella. Lynne Dominick, associate publisher of HFM's Elle, was named acting publisher of Mirabella.