SBC taps Rodgers Townsend, GSD&M for corp. branding
[San Antonio] SBC Communications, in the midst of the acquisition of AT&T (see story, P. 3), has moved its estimated $70 million corporate branding account from Omnicom Group's Merkley & Partners, New York, to Rodgers Townsend, St. Louis, agency for business-to-business efforts, and Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, agency for retail products, executives familiar with the situation said. An SBC spokeswoman declined to comment.
Warner Bros. sees $1B from TV show DVD sales
[New York] Revenue from DVD sales of Warner Bros.-produced TV shows will top $1 billion in 2005. "This business barely existed three years ago," said Jeffrey Bewkes, chairman of entertainment and networks at Time Warner, during a conference call Feb. 4. The company has ten of the top 25 DVD franchises in television, including "The Sopranos," "Sex and the City" and "Seinfeld."
Tunnicliffe to U.S. as chief strategic officer
[New York] Interpublic's Initiative Worldwide moved a top executive, Mike Tunnicliffe, from London to a newly created role in North America as chief strategic officer. Mr. Tunnicliffe, 44, was formerly exec VP at Initiative and will report to CEO Alec Gerster. "We were in a lot of high-profile reviews last year. We just want to come out victorious in more of them," said Mr. Gerster. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq30g
Mass. scrutinizes Kilts' P&G compensation
[Boston] Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has launched an inquiry into whether Gillette Chairman-CEO Jim Kilts violated his fiduciary duty to shareholders in accepting an estimated $23 million from Procter & Gamble Co. as part of its proposed $57 billion acquisition of the company. Mr. Kilts' P&G pay package, for services to be rendered as vice chairman of P&G, is part of an estimated $185 million overall payout he will receive from the deal. A spokesman for Mr. Galvin said "it's too soon" to talk about whether he would agree to a settlement that guaranteed keeping jobs in Massachusetts. He also indicated that Massachusetts may launch an anti-trust probe into Wal-Mart Stores, based on speculation that its market power forced the merger.
Lite takes on Bud Select, banned from pre-game
[Milwaukee] Miller Brewing Co. CEO Norman Adami, in a Feb. 4 memo, urged wholesalers to keep up the heat on Anheuser-Busch as it prepares for the Feb. 21 rollout of Budweiser Select. Mr. Adami said the rollout of the beer, which is low-carb and has a crisp taste, shows A-B is concerned about the "product characteristics" of Budweiser and Bud Light, which Miller has derided in ads. "In the coming days we will be sharing with you tools specifically designed to capitalize on those vulnerabilities," he said. Don Meyer, director-new products for A-B, dismissed Miller's claims. "It's a desperate act by a brewer that has only one brand that has much staying power to it." Miller broke ads last week ridiculing Bud Select and touting Miller Lite; News Corps.' Fox Network declined to run them during the Super Bowl pre-game show, saying that the ads portrayed products from "the largest single supporter of the day's programming in a negative way." See the spiked ads at AdAge.com aaq30y
Appeals court rules in favor of tobacco cos.
[Washington] A split three-judge appellate court panel ruled two to one that the Justice Department couldn't require major tobacco makers to disgorge $280 billion in profits earned from 1971 to 2001 in a suit over whether tobacco makers covered up tobacco's health dangers
Electronic Data Systems selected Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York and London, to handle creative and media responsibilities for its $7 million account. ... WPP's Y&R promoted Gord McLean to CEO-North America, the agency said in a statement today. Mr. McLean will continue in his role as president-global client services, Young & Rubicam Brands. ... In keeping with its ongoing efforts to keep food critics and regulators at bay, Kraft Foods has named Richard Black to the new position of VP-Nutrition, effective Feb. 28. Mr. Black is currently executive director of non-profit health research institute International Life Sciences Institute. ... Insiders say Pilar Guzman, a former editor at Real Simple, is the top editor on Fairchild Publications' newest project, the upscale parenting magazine Cookie. Ms. Guzman is the wife of Chris Mitchell, the publisher of Fairchild's Details. A Fairchild spokeswoman declined to comment. ... Pax, struggling to win ratings, laid off several high-ranking executives and staff members late last week.