The Week

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Alberto-Culver moved some brands from Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chicago, resulting in the shop cutting 12 to 15 staffers, an agency spokeswoman said. The layoffs slice more than 16% off of its full-time work force. The marketer shifted work on its brands Alberto VO5, Mrs. Dash and Static Guard to Omnicom Group's Element 79 Partners, Chicago, and Tressemme to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, a spokesman for Alberto-Culver said. The spokesman said no formal review preceded the account shift. Campbell Mithun handles Alberto-Culver's St. Ives lotion and shampoo brands, and Element 79 had handled projects for the company. Euro RSCG's spokeswoman said Darden Restaurants' review of its Red Lobster account was not a factor in the layoffs. Separately, Jim Schmidt, Tatham's chief creative officer, resigned last week. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap32k

Dodge, Coors join `Maxim' Bowl party

Maxim wooed four advertisers to sponsor its annual Super Bowl guerilla-marketing bash Jan. 30 on a private ranch outside Houston for 1,500 invitees. Dodge, Sony, Coors and Allied Domecq anted up an undisclosed fee for this year's invitation-only gala, dubbed "Circus Maximus." The three-ring circus for adults integrated the sponsors' products. An all-new Dodge Magnum wagon pulled a circus cage full of go-go dancers dressed as lions and tigers, said Andy Clerkson, general manager of the racy Dennis Publishing title. Meanwhile, a Dodge SRT 10 pickup was "dragged down the red carpet by strongmen with circus performers" on the bed of the full-size pickup, he said. The Chrysler Group brand's move came just weeks after controversy forced it to withdraw as sponsor of the "Lingerie Bowl," showcasing underwear-clad females playing football during a pay-per-view broadcast that aired concurrently with the Super Bowl's halftime show on CBS. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap33g

Five to compete for Calif. Lottery

The executives running the review for the California Lottery account, first begun in March 2001, hope to name an agency by March and get a campaign out by spring. The latest horse race for the Lottery's four-year, $100 million general advertising creative and media account has narrowed to five contenders, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles, the incumbent; Omnicom Group's BBDO West, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles, with its sibling shops OMD and Alcone; Interpublic's Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif.; and independent Ground Zero, Los Angeles. Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding, San Francisco and McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Los Angeles, each named apparent successful bidders in earlier unsuccessful rounds, didn't make it this time. Another contender, Triple Play, consisting of three independent shops-Ruynon Saltzman & Einhorn, Sacramento; Horizon Media and WongDoody, Los Angeles-pitching jointly, also were cut. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap32r

SUV safety ads to break in fall

The Florida attorney general's office awarded its one-time, $30 million national ad campaign promoting sport utility vehicle safety to Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York. The funds for the campaign are from a $51 million settlement that Ford Motor Co. agreed to pay after all 50 states sued the automaker for false advertising of its popular Ford Explorer SUV. The Florida attorney general's office led the group. The agency beat out Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, and Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chicago. Bartle Bogle is 49% owned by Publicis. The review was announced last April, and the campaign was originally set to break last fall. But a delay in selecting a search consultant held up the review. The safety effort is now likely to break this fall and is expected to include TV, radio and print. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap33h

Time Warner gains despite AOL losses

Time Warner posted a net gain for the fourth quarter of 2003 in spite of continued weakness in its America Online unit and forecast income and revenue results will improve in 2004. The world's largest media company posted net income of $638 million for the fourth quarter and $2.64 billion for the year, up from losses of $44.91 billion and $98.7 billion respectively for the year-ago period. The 2002 losses were due to write-downs to reflect the drops in the company's value after the merger of Time Warner and America Online. Revenue grew 6% for both the fourth quarter ($10.9 billion) and for the year ($39.57 billion). Growth came across all units, except for AOL, where total revenue was down 7% for the quarter due to a 36% drop in ad revenue. TV ad revenue was up 3% for the quarter and 10% for the year, while publishing advertising revenue was down 2% for the quarter and up 2% for the year.

FYI...

Verizon Wireless hired Pile & Co. to handle the review for the creative portion of its national ad account, worth $315 million. A spokeswoman would not comment on which agencies would be invited, but did note Interpublic's McCann-Erickson would be a finalist and sibling Lowe, the incumbent, would not participate. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap32t...Interpublic has sold Campbell Mithun's San Diego office to President-CEO Gary Meads and Chief Creative Officer Tony Durket, who are forming an independent shop, MeadsDurket. Campbell Mithun continues its Irvine, Calif., operation.

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