The Week

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Less than one month before Havas' June 9 shareholder meeting, two independent shareholder advisory firms issued reports recommending shareholders vote against the four executives nominated for board seats by Havas' single largest shareholder, Vincent Bollore. ISS, in Maryland, and Proxinvest, in Paris, also recommended that shareholders approve the nominees Havas has put forth for renewal as directors as well as three additional nominees. The plans of Mr. Bollore, who holds just over 20% of Havas, parent of Euro RSCG Worldwide, Arnold Worldwide and MPG, are the subject of much speculation. Alain de Pouzilhac, chairman-CEO of Havas, has said he believes Mr. Bollore wants to destabilize the firm and take it over without paying a premium to shareholders. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq60s

Fresca makes a comeback

Coca-Cola North America in September will relaunch its Fresca brand with contemporary packaging and logo and with two line extensions as part of a plan to improve its lineup of diet flavor brands. Coke will back the zero-calorie, three-flavor line-including its original grapefruit, Sparkling Peach Citrus and Sparkling Black Cherry Citrus-with a TV, radio, out-of-home and Internet campaign via Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis. The 39-year-old brand will be positioned as a "uniquely sophisticated sparkling citrus soft drink, ideal for moments of perfectly relaxed pleasure."

AOL.com seeks music-video deal

As America Online prepares to knock down the walled garden that separates its content from the general Web surfer this summer, the portal is in discussions to do a deal with SonyBMG to run its music videos on the new AOL.com. Published reports last week said the deal could be worth more than $25 million, but an AOL spokeswoman would not verify that. AOL joins the trend toward presenting original content online to keep users online longer and to offer advertisers deals integrated with the Internet and other channels. AOL Music is the second-most visited site behind Yahoo Music.

Outdoor improves measurement system

Out-of-home advertising leaders at last week's Outdoor Advertising Association of America conference predicted that within three to five years out-of-home advertising venues will have a system to measure marketers' return on investment comparable to or better than those of other consumer media, thanks to a move from "opportunity-to-see" data to "likelihood-to-see" data. Numbers from the Traffic Audit Bureau, which measures out-of-home media, will soon reflect not only how many people pass an advertisement, but also how many are likely to notice it. Adjusted measurement numbers, likely be completed early in 2006, will be based on a variety of factors, including a sign's size, angle and distance from the road. Media owners have acknowledged that adjusted numbers will be lower than current traffic counts on which the industry relies; they're hoping agencies and advertisers will pay higher CPMs for a more accurate measure of audience. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq60L

FCC commissioner rails against `fake news'

A member of the Federal Communications Commission, Jonathan S. Adelstein, last week warned about the "increasing commercialization of American media" and called on his agency to toughen its requirements and expand its investigations into the practice of product placement. "People out there are frustrated by what they see as fake news and relentless marketing," Mr. Adelstein said. Mr. Adelstein was especially critical of video news releases and so-called experts, from chefs to celebrities, who appear on news shows to endorse particular products without disclosing they are being paid by marketers for their efforts. Adonis Hoffman, senior VP-general counsel for the Association of American Advertising Agencies, said the group supports reasonable disclosure of product placement but only in instances where shows feature product claims. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq60w

FYI...

Gannett Broadcasting Exec VP Craig Dubow, 50, will replace Gannett Co. CEO Douglas McCorkindale, 65, who will remain as chairman until July 2006. ... The U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-to-3 vote ruled that commodity-ad programs were government speech and not subject to First Amendment claims from ranchers and farmers arguing they are being compelled to pay for ads they don't agree with. The decision lifts a cloud that has been hanging over the $250 million in advertising for beef, pork, cotton and milk since the case has been winding its way through the courts. But the ruling left open a loophole for those who want to suspend such programs, if farmers and ranchers can show consumers don't view the ads as a government effort. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq58z

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