Ex-Coker Heyer Gives Pouring Rights to Pepsi

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AdAge.com) -- Revenge is not only a dish best served cold, but apparently with a glass of Pepsi as well. Steve Heyer, who took the CEO position at Starwood Hotels and Resorts after being passed over for the same job at Coca-Cola, has awarded soft-drink pouring rights at more than 300 Starwood properties in the U.S. to Pepsi. Coke had pouring rights in the U.S. for such Starwood brands as Sheraton and Westin since 1998. Those now shift to Pepsi. Coke will retain the rights at Starwood's overseas properties, in downtown Atlanta -- Coke's corporate headquarters -- and for the St. Regis chain. Starwood did not respond at press time to questions about the financial terms of the Pepsi deal or Mr. Heyer's sense of humor.

Cadbury taps JWT for $50M Stride launch
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AdAge.com) -- Cadbury Adams has assigned the $50 million launch of its Stride gum to WPP Group's JWT, New York. JWT, which handles Cadbury's Halls, Trident and Bubblicious brands, pitched for the business against fellow Cadbury roster shop Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, N.Y., which handles Dentyne, Clorets and Certs. Cadbury is expected to spend $150 million on Stride over the next three years.

Lehman report says IPG could fall to $7
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Lehman Brothers, initiating research coverage of the advertising services industry, issued a sharply critical report on Interpublic Group of Cos., saying the stock could fall to $7 in the next year-30% below its current level. The Wall Street consensus is the troubled company will move back into the black this year, but Lehman analyst Craig Huber predicts it won't turn a profit till 2008, when he expects earnings of just 1 cent a share. "We are highly skeptical of Interpublic's turnaround until greater progress and stability are apparent," he wrote in the 72-page report. An Interpublic spokesman declined to comment on the report.

BET founder Johnson buys control of bank
BETHESDA, Md. (AdAge.com) -- Robert L. Johnson, the founder of BET and majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, reached a deal to buy a controlling interest in Metro Bank in Orlando, Fla., which he plans to rename Urban Trust Bank. "Our plan is to establish a network of branches in urban areas to include communities that have limited access to banking facilities," said Mr. Johnson, who was also inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame last week by the American Advertising Federation.

HP lowers reported ad expenses by $1.3B
Palo Alto, Calif. (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. restated advertising expenses for 2003 and '04, cutting its reported worldwide ad costs by $1.3 billion or 36%. HP included the revised figures, without explanation, in its fiscal '05 10-K filing. A spokeswoman said the restatement removes costs such as public relations and trade shows from advertising expenses to bring HP in line with "current industry benchmarks" for financial reporting of ad costs. The expense reclassification didn't affect net income. Based on its new definition of advertising, HP now has the lowest ad expense per revenue dollar among top tech companies, beating archrival Dell Inc. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar52d

Mazda inks comic, TV placement deal
LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Mazda North American Operations has paired up with Los Angeles-based branded entertainment shop Spacedog to appear in the first of several planned graphic novels that the company will publish with Fox Television Studios and simultaneously co-develop into TV shows. Through its development deal with Fox, Spacedog will create three projects to be published through Top Cow Comics that will integrate marketers into the storylines.

Publicis Groupe shifts HP to Publicis in West
SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Publicis Group is transferring management of its Hewlett-Packard business from its San Francisco shop, Publicis & Hal Riney, to rival and separate shop, Publicis in the West, Seattle, an executive familiar with the situation said. Publicis & Hal Riney, which is working for a reinvention, also parted with Jan Carpenter, longtime CFO. A spokeswoman for the agency said an unspecified number of other employees have left or will be leaving the agency. Ms. Carpenter did not return calls seeking comment. Publicis & Hal Riney, although owned by the Publicis Group, has been treated as a separate agency and has competed against Publicis in the West in a number of reviews, including some for major car accounts.

Discovery Kids, NBC end Saturday partnership
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Discovery Kids will no longer supply NBC's Saturday kids programming block as the two ended their four-year partnership. Discovery Kids content will now live fulltime on its eponymous digital cable channel; NBC has not yet indicated how it will replace the programming. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar52j

FYI ...
Kristin Bloomquist, 45, to managing director business development and integration, TracyLocke, Dallas, from senior consultant, Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif. ... ConAgra Foods has named Jacqueline K. Heslop McCook chief growth officer and exec VP. Ms. McCook, 49, a former PepsiCo executive and recent head of eponymous consulting firm, The McCook Group, will oversee marketing for the retail and foodservice manufacturer in her new role as well as growth opportunities including international expansion. ... Alltel is considering four unnamed shops for a new phone company to be spun off this year that will offer wireline services to 3.5 million customers in 16 states. Alltel's current agency, Campbell Ewald, will continue as Alltel's agency and is not participating in the review, expected to be decided in April, Alltel executives said.

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