The Week

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I want my MTV! That was the battle cry of countless Dish Network customers after parent EchoStar Communications yanked all Viacom networks off the satellite service last week following a long-running dispute over fees. MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and local CBS affiliates disappeared from the TV screens of 1.6 million Dish customers March 9. Dish's contract to carry the networks expired December and the two companies were unable to come to terms. EchoStar filed a lawsuit against Viacom in San Francisco federal court in January alleging Viacom was forcing it to take cable channels at inflated prices in exchange for the right to carry 18 CBS-owned stations in 16 media markets. After heated exchanges, including an incident in which Echostar gave out Viacom CEO Mel Karmazin's home phone number to complaining Dish users, the two sides settled. The new pact extends Dish's carriage for Viacom's networks and adds Nicktoons.

Kool introduces flavored smokes

In a move that is certain to stoke the fires of those who believe the tobacco companies are marketing to teenagers, Brown & Williamson, Louisville, announced plans to introduce flavored versions of its Kool cigarette brand, including Caribbean Chill, Midnight Berry, Mocha Taboo and Mintrigue. The move echoes what R.J. Reynolds has done for the last several years in introducing special limited edition flavors of its Camel brand. Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the flavors decrease the taste of tobacco and will generate new smokers among younger age groups. Brown & Williamson said the cigarettes are promoted only to adults. WPP Group's 141 Worldwide, handles.

Saturn effort puts focus on people

Saturn is rolling out "People First" as its tagline in TV spots from Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, replacing "It's different in a Saturn," the line that arrived in fall 2002 from the agency. The campaign, which broke last week, marks a strategy shift. The General Motors Corp. brand said in 2002 it wouldn't have a sustaining strategy if it highlighted the retail experience, the marketer's main differentiation since it began in 1990. Saturn spent $196 million in the first 11 months of 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Sales in the first two months of 2004 dropped by 23% vs. a year ago to 31,141 units. QwikFIND aap44f

Cola wars shift to mid-calorie drinks

In a move that sets up a renewed cola war this summer, Pepsi-Cola North America said it will launch Pepsi Edge, a "mid-calorie" cola. Pepsi said roughly 60 million people drink both regular and diet soft drinks, and that number has jumped 75% in the past two years. To reach those so-called dual users, Pepsi will roll out Pepsi Edge in late summer with TV, radio and in-store advertising via Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York. According to Pepsi, a 12-ounce can will have 20 grams of sugar, 20 grams of carbohydrates and 70 calories, roughly half of full-sugar brands. Coca-Cola is expected to roll out its own mid-calorie cola, Coke Ultra, during the peak spring/summer season. QwikFIND aap44q

BBDO victor in California Lottery

For the fourth time, the California Lottery has named an agency as the apparent successful winner of its four-year, $100 million contract. Omnicom Group's BBDO, San Francisco, appears to have a good shot at surviving the upcoming protest period, which unraveled the winnings of sibling shop DDB, Los Angeles, and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco and McCann-Erickson, Los Angeles. The decision won't be final until at least next month when the Lottery Commission gives its blessing. That commission, however, lacks a quorum pending appointments from Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneger. Due to the delays, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles, held the contract for a record seven years. QwikFIND aap45d


Paul Guyardo will join Kmart Corp. in late March as the retailer's first senior VP-chief marketing officer since it emerged from bankruptcy. He replaces acting CMO Karen Austin, who returns to her original post as chief information officer. Mr. Guyardo was formerly exec VP-television and marketing, HSN cable network. QwikFIND aap44m. .. The U.S Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council, with Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Group launched a cross-media initiative to show people small things they can do to lose weight. Hispanic and African-American directed efforts are also part of the campaign. ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS will air the spots.

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