AT&T brand afloat as part of latest deal
The venerable AT&T brand name will be in limbo after the $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless by Cingular Wireless closes later this year. Under an agreement among Cingular, AT&T Wireless and its former parent, AT&T Corp., Cingular will be allowed to advertise the AT&T Wireless name for a six-month transition period. It will capitalize on AT&T Wireless' recent "How many bars do you have?" campaign and an Olympic effort from Ogilvy & Mather, New York. After the transition, the merged brands will continue under the Cingular moniker. AT&T Corp., meanwhile, said it plans to get back into the wireless business, but has not announced whether it will use the AT&T label. An AT&T Corp. spokeswoman said "you can expect us to capitalize" on the strong AT&T brand, and added the company has a deal with the wireless companies "to fully meet our plans for serving customers with AT&T-branded wireless services."
Ousted exec back at Conde Nast group
Suzanne Grimes, former publisher of Glamour magazine, will return to Conde Nast Publications to oversee corporate ad sales, four months after being ousted from her post. Ms. Grimes rejoins the company Aug. 31 as VP of the new Conde Nast Media Group; she will report to the group's president, Richard Beckman. The group oversees corporate ad sales across Advance Publications' portfolio, which includes Conde Nast Publications, Fairchild Publications, Golf Digest Cos., newspaper supplement Parade and online arm CondeNet. Ms. Grimes, a well-regarded sales executive, was replaced in May by former Details Publisher William Wackermann, after she was unable to reverse weak trends in ad pages. Adage.com QwikFIND: aap90o
Delta incumbents dropped in review
Delta Air Lines will go into the final round of its agency review minus its two incumbents. The Atlanta-based airline narrowed the list of finalists and cut Atlanta boutique Brighthouse, which handled the creative account for the past year, and Publicis Groupe's Starcom, which had media planning and buying. Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day and WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, both New York, were also eliminated from the creative portion of the review. WPP's J. Walter Thompson and media buying arm MindShare; Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide and OMD; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe Worldwide and Lowe Media, all New York, are the finalists vying for the $25 million account. Adage.com QwikFIND: aap90w
Fallon taps Buchner as marketing chief
In a further indication that it will continue to push into the branded-entertainment category, Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, has tapped Robert Buchner, its point person on branded entertainment, as its new chief marketing officer. He succeeds Mark Goldstein. Mr. Buchner, 41, oversaw the online execution of BMW films and started working on entertainment projects two years ago along with former chief creative officer David Lubars. Adage.com QwikFIND: aap91k
Congress weighs diplomatic PR plans
After hearing from ad executives, the U.S. Congress remained uncertain about plans to implement recommendations from the 9/11 Commission to overhaul U.S. public diplomacy efforts. The House Government Reform Committee heard testimony from DDB Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard, who warned that the government is no longer "a credible messenger" to provide convincing messages in the Middle East and urged it "provide incentive to other actors." Veteran ad executive Charlotte Beers, a former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, however, said there remains a government role.