Safeway seeks new creative ideas
Grocery retailer Safeway, facing stiff competition from Wal-Mart and other discounters in the fresh-food aisle, added WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, as agency for creative assignments on a project basis. Incumbent Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., part of the Interpublic Group of Cos., remains agency for the majority of the retail chain's $95 million account, according to Mike Minasi, senior VP-marketing. Safeway owns Von's, Pavilion's and Dominick's chains. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap48L
Hotwire parks all biz at Interpublic
Discount travel site Hotwire, anticipating a major boost to its current marketing plans, consolidated the creative portion of its advertising account with Interpublic's McCann-Erickson, San Francisco. Sibling shop Universal McCann last September won Hotwire's media buying and planning account. Independent DeVito/Verdi, New York, was the incumbent. Hotwire spent $22 million in measured media for the first 11 months of 2003, according to TNS/Media Intelligence CMR. However, a spokeswoman for the IAC/InterActiveCorp unit said spending is anticipated at $55 million this year and will include a "major" TV budget. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap48m
Top execs sell off their agency shares
Ed Meyer, chairman-president-CEO of Grey Global Group, filed to sell 51,128 shares worth about $35 million. Mr. Meyer, 77, got the shares when he converted Grey debentures into stock in December. He has voting control for 70% of Grey stock, giving him the power to elect the board and control the company. Separately, DDB Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard continued his Omnicom Group stock sales, selling 50,000 shares for nearly $4 million. He has sold half his Omnicom stake since August and, with the latest sale, goes from largest to third largest individual shareholder. Omnicom Chairman Bruce Crawford and President-CEO John Wren are Nos. 1 and 2 (AA, March 8, P.2).
Two Publicis Groupe media networks are ramping up their capabilities, reorganizing management and forming new units. Starcom USA, Chicago, a unit of Starcom MediaVest Group, has created two new roles, that of chief marketing officer and managing director of investment and operations. Steven Fueling, former senior VP-marketing, Kmart, becomes the marketing chief. John Muszynski, current exec VP-chief broadcast investment officer, was promoted to the managing director's role. Some of his current responsibilities will be taken on by others in the broadcast investment group. Meanwhile, Optimedia International, New York, part of ZenithOptimedia Group, formed an emerging-technologies division under Bob Flood, exec VP-director of national electronic media. The unit will initially have a staff of six to serve clients' growing interest in areas such as the Internet, broadband, digital video recorders and video on demand. Optimedia clients include BMW, L'Oreal and T-Mobile. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap48q