Honda aims redone Odyssey at empty nesters
[Torrance, Calif.] While families remain the main target for American Honda Motor Co.'s Odyssey minivan, the marketer hopes to attract more empty nesters with its redone 2005 model. The minivan's launch breaks tonight on national broadcast and TV networks, which Honda said is a shift from its usual focus on spot TV. Independent RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., used the theme of "back to the drawing board," with sketches of features shown in ads. The tag is "A great idea made better." Honda backed the Odyssey with $12 million in advertising, plus $14 million in leasing ads through June, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
`Yoga Journal' launches test of lifestyle title
[Berkeley, Calif.] Yoga Journal is launching a "test issue" of a more lifestyle-oriented title called Yoga Journal Balanced Living. The title hits newsstands Oct. 5, said Publisher Lynn Lehmkuhl, who maintains that title at Yoga Journal as well. Some 310,000 copies will be distributed to newsstands and to Yoga Journal subscribers. Another issue of the magazine is slated for 2005. The debut issue will contain 60 ad pages.
Kraft looking to sell its confection units
[Northfield, Ill.] Kraft Foods is likely shopping around a number of its brands with low growth potential, among them confection businesses such as Altoids and LifeSavers as well as its license for the Breyers brand yogurt and Post cereal, according to recent reports from Wall Street analysts. Though a Kraft spokeswoman declined to comment, Kraft CEO Roger Deromedi suggested during a meeting with analysts in July that the company was open to divestitures on under-performing businesses and those with little international potential.
CEO of See Advertising, agency for EA, resigns
[San Francisco] Eileen Arbues, CEO of independent shop See Advertising, agency for Electronic Arts' $70 million ad account, has resigned. Ms. Arbues, who took over the shop after a dustup with EA involving an executive at the agency, said she has decided to leave her equity position in the agency to take a break from the business. During her tenure, See diversified its clients, most recently picking up an assignment from Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts. Billings were undetermined.
Alltel sends out signals for potential review
[Little Rock, Ark.] Telecom marketer Alltel Corp., moving to strengthen its brand image, has contacted at least one major agency about its account, an executive familiar with the situation said. Alltel awarded its account to Omnicom Group's DDB in April 2003. Alltel spent $98.7 million in measured media in 2003 and $44.8 million for the first half of 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. An Alltel spokesman denied the account was in review, but declined to comment on whether the company was engaging in talks with other shops. A DDB spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the account was in review.
Sorrell cashes in on $30M incentive bonus
[London] WPP Group last week paid Group Chief Executive Martin Sorrell a $30 million bonus under a 1999 incentive plan tied to WPP's performance since then. WPP awarded Mr. Sorrell shares worth about $12 million. The ad firm awarded Mr. Sorrell's private company, JMS Financial Services Ltd., about $18 million in cash, which JMS converted into newly issued WPP shares. Mr. Sorrell and his family interests now own a 1.46% stake in WPP worth $159 million.
Dennis Publishing lays off over 12 staffers
[New York] Dennis Publishing laid off over a dozen staffers on Sept 24, including some of its best-known editors and executives. Among them were Blender's Editor In Chief Andy Pemberton, Stuff Group Publisher Mark MacDonald and director of programming Keith Blanchard. In a prepared statement, Dennis President-CEO Stephen Colvin said "this week we've had to make some very difficult decisions to part company with a number of people." Dennis' ad pages through August were down 7.5%, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
Procter & Gamble Co.'s Pampers chose Omnicom Group's Critical Mass, Calgary, Alberta, as its interactive agency of record, effective Oct. 1, following a review. ... Shona Seifert, the former Ogilvy & Mather executive under indictment for mishandling the White House drug policy account, announced she will take three-month leave of absence to focus attention on her trial scheduled for February. The paid leave of absence will begin on Jan. 1, 2005, said Ms. Seifert, president of the New York office of Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day.