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[Bedminster, N.J.] AT&T Corp., following its decision to focus on business rather than consumer marketing, has dropped $110 million in upfront advertising commitments, TelevisionWeek reports today. Media executives estimate each broadcast network lost between $5 million and $20 million. Overall, an estimated $75 million to $85 million was lost by the broadcast networks; about $25 million was lost by cable networks and syndication programmers. Upfront advertising cancellations of this size are rare. "For the TV ad marketplace, it's a big hit," said one senior network executive.

Hearst to publish `O at Home' in `05

[New York] In 2005 Hearst Magazines will publish two additional issues of O at Home, a shelter-themed offshoot of its O, The Oprah Magazine co-venture with Harpo Productions. This year the company launched the title with a Spring issue and Fall issue, and similar issues are expected to hit newsstands around May and October of 2005. A Hearst spokeswoman said there were no plans yet to publish the title in 2006, nor were there plans for it to increase frequency. The title launched with a rate base of 600,000 and the company said its first issue sold over 700,000 newsstand copies.

Burger King focuses on kids with Honbatz `toons

[Miami] Burger King Corp. is breaking its first kid-targeted branding campaign in a decade. The No. 2 fast-feeder today will unleash Honbatz, an ensemble of unruly cartoon characters that represent the "ids in kids" to position Burger King as the quintessential place where they can have it their way. The effort was created by Boing, the youth division of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. WPP's VML, Kansas City, Mo., will handle online and sibling Wunderman will handle in-store.

Sears eliminates separate multicultural department

[Hoffman Estates, Ill.] Sears, Roebuck & Co. has eliminated its standalone multicultural marketing department, but the struggling retailer maintains it will continue its commitment to the sector. The company announced it has "embedded" its multicultural staff within its marketing and merchandising departments upon the retirement of Billye Alexander, VP-multicultural management. Joan Chow, VP-marketing, has been assigned an expanded role overseeing multicultural marketing. A spokeswoman said the move will quicken decision making and better align multicultural efforts with operations, but the decision raised fears that Sears will whittle down its spending on multicultural advertising. To read more, see

ONDCP account draws few bidders

[Washington] The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy apparently drew few pitches for a rebidding of its contract now held by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Because the bidding was limited to agencies on the General Services Administration approved contractors list, a number of ad agencies were excluded. O&M declined to say if it bid. WPP's J. Walter Thompson, one of the few bigger agencies on the contractors list did bid, while Arnold Communications, another on the list, didn't. Publicis is on the permitted bidders list, but Saatchi & Saatchi didn't bid. The U.S. Army's rebidding of its contract, meanwhile, drew far more interest. Among agencies pitching: current agency Publicis' Leo Burnett USA; former agency WPP's Y&R, New York; Interpublic's McCann Erickson, New York; Grey Global Group's Grey, New York; and Omnicom Group's BBDO, Atlanta. The Army account is a one-year contract, renewable for four years.

Primedia seeks partner for `Folio:,' other titles

[New York] On Aug. 5 Primedia announced it was "evaluating strategic partnerships" with regard to its American Demographics and magazine trade journals Folio: and Circulation Management. It also began reporting those titles' revenues as discontinued operations. An insider suggested a deal or partnership involving the properties could happen before the end of August. A Primedia spokesman declined to comment.

Chevy renews sponsorship for Ski Team through `06

[Detroit] Chevrolet renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Ski Team through the 2006 Olympic Games in Italy, said Kim Kosak, general director-advertising at the General Motors Corp. brand. The marketer is also dropping Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" line and music in any upcoming ads, she said, although GM still holds the rights to use the line and music. The tag bowed in 1992 in ads from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich.

Financier's stake in Havas passes 5% mark

[Paris] French financier Vincent Bollore July 30 bought 5.1% of ad firm Havas, according to an Aug. 6 filing by Mr. Bollore with the French securities regulator. The filing shows Mr. Bollore has passed the 5% threshold needed for disclosure. Havas July 30 said Mr. Bollore had bought a 4% to 5% stake; Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac, who described Mr. Bollore as a friend, Aug. 3 said Mr. Bollore had told him he wouldn't go above 4.9%. The investor is known for buying into undervalued companies and pressing management to take action to boost the stock; Havas shares are down 73% from their 2000 peak. A spokeswoman for Mr. Bollore last week declined to comment on his intentions. The financier bought into Havas days after the French ad firm expressed interest in buying Grey Global Group. (See story on Havas results, P. 8.)

FYI ...

Interpublic's Draft, Chicago, last month picked up promotional work for Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pringles potato crisps and ConAgra Foods' Parkay. A P&G representative didn't return calls. ConAgra confirmed it was working with Draft. Draft declined to comment. ... CurtCo Media, publishers of luxury titles Robb Report and Worth, are expected to announce early this week the acquisition of Showboats International, a six-times-a-year yachting title based in Fort Lauderdale with a circulation of 53,000. Terms were not disclosed. ... Delta Faucet Co. tapped Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, to handle its Delta brand advertising account. It beat out Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. ... Chrysler Group's Jeep arm will focus all the brand's spring advertising to launch the first diesel Liberty. ... A legislative commission in Maine made a tentative recommendation that the state Bureau of Health evaluate food ads directed to kids and suggest which should be restricted on Maine TV stations. It drew the immediate ire of ad and broadcasting groups. The recommendations are due to be finalized later this month, with a public hearing set for Sept. 24. ... Online coupon service Boodle today will put an ad in the form of a sticker on the reverse side of some 16,000 quarters it plans to scatter around Minneapolis in vending machine change slots and on the street. See QwikFIND aap87f

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