Starcom to merge with Bartle's Motive in U.K.

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[london] Leo Burnett Co. is expected this week to announce the merger of its U.K. media operation Starcom with Bartle Bogle Hegarty's media arm, Motive Communications. Burnett acquired a 49% stake in Bartle at the end of 1997, when merger talks first surfaced. Motive Managing Director Mark Cranmer confirmed merger discussions have been renewed.

YMCA picks GSD&M for anniversary campaign

[chicago] The YMCA has chosen GSD&M, Austin, Texas, to handle an estimated $20 million campaign for the organization's 150th anniversary in 2001. The national effort will include TV and print advertising.

Y&R to reorganize creative department

[new york] Y&R Advertising sent an internal memo to employees Nov. 24 announcing a change in its creative department. Chief Creative Officer Jim Ferguson plans to reorganize the department into six different groups with key creative staffers in charge of each one.

Ford's Ropes exits for zUniversity.com

[dearborn, mich.] David Ropes is the latest mainstream marketing executive to jump to an Internet startup. The 52-year-old executive resigned as director of corporate advertising and integrated marketing for Ford Motor Co. to become exec VP-business development for zUniversity.com, a Web site portal to link college students and alumni. No successor has been named at Ford.

Armstrong joins Talk Media as VP

[new york] Joe Armstrong today is set to join Talk Media in the new post of VP-director of strategic planning. His duties will include the marketing of Talk magazine online and Talk Miramax Books; and directing two new ventures to be announced early next year. Mr. Armstrong was most recently senior VP-group publisher of Capital Publishing.

Top Nissan creative exits TBWA/Chiat

[playa del rey, calif.] Rob Siltanen, long-time lead creative director on TBWA/Chiat/Day's $500 million-plus Nissan Motor Corp. account, has left the agency to launch his own shop-Siltanen, Los Angeles. An undisclosed El Segundo, Calif., Internet start-up offering arts and crafts will be its first client. Separately, TBWA/Chiat/Day's new creative director in San Francisco, Chuck McBride, has begun to fashion his creative team for the Levi Strauss & Co. account, hiring two veteran creatives, John Soto and Eric King, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners.

Gifts.com gets $20 mil campaign

[pleasantville, n.y.] Reader's Digest Association and StarTek Marketing launch an estimated $20 million campaign this week for its new premium gifts Web site, Gifts.com. Young & Rubicam's advertising, direct marketing, brand identity, public relations and media buying units are all involved. The tagline is "Gifts.com. Just the perfect gifts."

Quilted Northern napkins readied

[norwalk, conn.] Fort James Corp. will launch Quilted Northern napkins, an upscale version of its existing Northern napkin line, in January, backed by $8 million to $10 million in TV, print and radio ads from DDB Worldwide, New York, breaking in the spring. The new line appears to take a strength and durability positioning similar to that of Procter & Gamble Co.'s Bounty Quilted napkins, in test market since September 1998.

New Line runs movie trailer only on Net

[los angeles] For perhaps the first time, a Hollywood studio will run a theatrical movie trailer exclusively on the Internet. This weekend New Line Cinema begins airing the teaser trailer for the upcoming movie "Final Destination" on the film's Web site (deathiscoming.com).

Domino's wants hipper campaigns from new shop

[ann arbor, mich.] Domino's Pizza's new agency, to be selected this week, will be charged with making its ads more hip and differentiating the brand as a leader in taste, according to an executive close to the chain. Finalists for the $120 million account are Deutsch, New York, and the Detroit and Chicago offices of J. Walter Thompson USA.

Hardee's may expand duties of two regional shops

[rocky mount, n.c.] Hardee's Food Systems may expand the duties of two long-time regional shops in the wake of cutting ties this week on its $50 million creative account with Leap Partnership, Chicago. The agencies in line for more work are Jordan Associates, Oklahoma City, and Lewis Advertising, Rocky Mount.

Forbes uses negative ad to combat charges of negativity

[alexandria, va.] GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes' response to a Republican Leadership Conference ad suggesting he would run a negative campaign resulted in his most negative ad. "George Bush says he wants a positive campaign. Then why are Bush's liberal supporters running this," said the ad running in Iowa and New Hampshire; Paul Sanderson of Our Town Films, New York, did the spot.

F.Y.I.

TBWA Worldwide and Hakuhodo were the topic of overseas speculation about a possible joint venture between them, initially to service common client Nissan Motor Corp. Last month, Nissan said it wanted to consolidate its worldwide account at one agency . . . Carlton Communications and United News & Media said they plan to merge in a $6.5 billion stock swap to create the U.K.'s biggest commercial TV company. . . . Michelle Ebanks, 37, to the new position of VP, Time Inc. Most recently, she was president-CEO of the Institute for Econometric Research, parent company of Mutual Funds magazine. . . . Schering-Plough Corp. has narrowed the candidates in its direct-to-consumer media buying review to three or four agencies, an executive familiar with the marketer's plans said last week. Spending could top $200 million. . . . Federal Trade Commission has accepted a consent agreement that paves the way for Reckitt & Colman to merge with Benckiser to form Reckitt Benckiser.

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