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[Dublin, Ohio] Wendy's International is officially giving the pink slip to Mr. Wendy, the chain's "unofficial" spokesman. Facing declining sales and robust competition, as well as widespread criticism over the eight-month campaign featuring the hapless burger evangelist, Wendy's will drop the campaign at the end of the month. The chain's ad agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, New York, is developing new creative to begin airing later this year to "more prominently position Wendy's food and heritage of quality," said executives. The No. 3 burger chain posted a 5.8% drop in same-store sales during October. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq10j

A-B rolls forward with low-carb Bud

[St. Louis] Keeping up the heat in the low-carb beer wars even though the diet trend has peaked, Anheuser-Busch today rolls out low-carb brew Budweiser Select in seven test markets (AA, Sept. 20). The beer has 3.1 grams of carbohydrates vs. 3.2 grams for Miller Brewing Co.'s Miller Lite. Lite has taken share from A-B's Bud Light with ads touting it has less than half the carbs of that brew. Don Meyer, director-new products for A-B, said the brewer will tout Select's taste in TV, print, radio and outdoor. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Chicago, and TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, handle. Initial markets are Athens, Ga.; Austin, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Green Bay, Wis.; Nashville, Tenn.; Philadelphia; and Sacramento, Calif.

Reebok performance work goes to McGarry

[Canton, Mass.] Reebok International moved brand strategy and creative leadership responsibilities for sports performance lines to independent agency McGarry Bowen from Omnicom's The Arnell Group, according to executives familiar with the matter. Both agencies are based in New York. A spokeswoman for Reebok would not comment on the matter. Arnell retains responsibility for lifestyle and nontraditional marketing efforts on various brands. Media buying, handled by Omnicom's PHD, is unaffected. Spending was $21 million for January through July 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq10l

Unilever docks Euro media biz at MindShare

[London] Unilever today said it has centralized its $1.2 billion European media planning and buying account with WPP Group's MindShare, a major blow to Interpublic's Initiative, which has the business in the U.K. and most major European markets. Unexpectedly, the shift also includes media planning as well as buying, a facet of the account originally thought to have been unaffected. MindShare previously held the Unilever business in Germany and Italy but will take over in most other countries Jan. 1. Aegis Group's Carat, a non-roster agency, also pitched. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq10n

Zicam, in lawsuit trouble, shifts account to McCann

[Phoenix] Matrixx Initiatives is slated to move its estimated $11 million advertising account for its Zicam homeopathic remedies from Culver City, Ca., independent Kovel/Fuller to Interpublic's McCann Erickson, executives familiar with the move said. Zicam has been hit with a pair of federal lawsuits, each with multiple plaintiffs, claiming the product damaged users' sense of smell and taste. Matrixx VP-Marketing Mike Voevodsky declined to comment. Calls to Andrew Schirmer, president of McCann HumanCare, were not returned at press time.

FYI ...

Energizer Performance Brands has named Omnicom's Tequila, Playa del Rey, Calif., agency for an estimated $6 million promotions campaign for its high-performance batteries. Interpublic's Zipatoni continues as agency for the bulk of Energizer's promotions account. ... Fox Sports Net has added an assignment for basketball advertising to Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco. New spots feature a talking basketball using the voice of actor Robert Downey Jr. ... Steve Buerger, group director-marketing services at Miller Brewing Co., is leaving the brewer to become group VP-media and business development for the corporate sales and marketing group at Time Warner, a Miller spokesman confirmed. ... Tommy Hilfiger has awarded its $26 million pan-European media account to Interpublic Group of Cos.' agencies Initiative Media and Brand Connection.

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