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Ron Bess, vice chairman for integration and business development at Young & Rubicam, said he is leaving the WPP Group company this fall, "to be free to pursue other opportunities." The news was first reported on Mr. Bess for two years was chairman-CEO of Young & Rubicam's Y&R Advertising, New York, until a management shuffle in March. Michael Patti succeeded Mr. Bess as chairman-CEO and chief creative officer of the New York flagship agency. In May, Michael Dolan, chairman-CEO of Young & Rubicam resigned, and Ann Fudge, a divisional president at Kraft Foods, replaced him. QwikFIND aao94p

Coke ads tout `choice' and `variety'

As regulators consider soft-drink bans in schools, Coca-Cola Co. last week bowed a rare corporate ad campaign via WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, showcasing its full line of sodas, juices, teas and waters as "Choice From The Coca-Cola Co." Print ads appeared in major daily newspapers as well as publications geared toward Capitol Hill powerbrokers, with copy reading, "There is one goal. To refresh the world ... any way you want." Choice, freshness and variety are fast-becoming the battle cries for marketers deflecting blame for America's growing weight problem and the campaign is the first from Coca-Cola using that strategy. More ads and billboards are slated for early October.

Kmart awards $250M biz to Grey

Struggling retailer Kmart last week awarded Grey Worldwide its anticipated $200 million to $250 million advertising account, in time for the agency to reposition the brand before the important holiday selling season.

The review began following a legal battle between Kmart and its former agency, Omnicom Group's TBWA/ Chiat/Day, New York, which created Kmart's back-to-school ad campaign while demanding $5.4 million in unpaid media fees. The two parted in July following an out-of-court settlement.

Creative will be handled by the New York office of Grey Worldwide, while media planning and buying duties fall to MediaCom, replacing TBWA/Chiat/Day sibling OMD. Other Grey Global units working on the account will include Grey Alliance and G2 Worldwide, which handle corporate identity and entertainment marketing, respectively.

Meridian will continue to handle the retailer's circulars, Kmart spokeswoman Abigail Jacobs said. Omnicom's Arnell is expected to continue producing advertising for Kmart's Martha Stewart line, a spokeswoman for Ms. Stewart said.

Three other shops participated in the review: independent Doner, Southfield, Mich.; Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, New York; and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York. QwikFIND aao94t

Doner wins $100M Six Flags account

Theme-parks company Six Flags awarded its estimated $100 million creative and media services account to independent Doner, Southfield, Mich.

Doner is expected to handle the media planning and buying portion of the account in-house. According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Six Flags spent $46 million in U.S. measured media last year. Other agencies contending for the account included Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles; Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis; and independent Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City, which had been the incumbent agency. Six Flags is struggling financially; the firm posted a quarterly loss in mid-August and said full-year adjusted earnings would be 15% less than in 2002. Analysts had expected the company's stock to pick up before the peak of summer business, but the company told Wall Street that bad weather had affected theme-park attendance. QwikFIND aao94d

Ernst & Young quits Catalina audit

Catalina marketing Corp.'s independent auditor, Ernst & Young, resigned effective Aug. 20, according to an Aug. 26 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said E&Y was unwilling to be associated with Catalina's financial statements until matters it uncovered in an audit are resolved. Catalina has delayed its fiscal 2003 and 2004 financial reports indefinitely, pending outcome of the audits and is seeking a new auditor. (AA, Aug. 25, P. 4) Catalina's filing said E&Y had informed management that it would need to "expand significantly the scope of its audit," which began in May. According to Catalina's filing, audit issues include timing of revenues for the Catalina Health Resource division, revenue timing for contracts that had not been executed by both parties during the period revenue was recognized, timing of accounting treatments for exclusivity rights granted to customers, accounting for non-cash transactions and disclosure of segment information for financial reporting.


Crain Communications (parent of Ad Age) agreed to sell radio stations WWUS-FM and WCNK-FM to Cooke Broadcasting. The stations are based in Big Pine Key, Fla. Terms were not disclosed. ... Leap Wireless International, moving to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, hired independent shop Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners as agency for its anticipated $20 million to $25 million account. ... Larry Oliver, VP-Group Publisher of Reed Business Information's Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable, resigned Aug. 26 to take the position of VP-Integrated Sales at VNU Business Media's Billboard Group, it was reported by Multichannel News. Mr. Oliver was formerly an ad sales executive at Ad Age. ... Body & Soul, known as New Age Journal until recently, will hit with a redesign and relaunch with its September issue. A rate base hike to 250,000 from 200,000 is expected next year.

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