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[Cypress, Calif.] Mitsubishi Motors North America is negotiating with Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, for its national and regional creative accounts, executives close to the automaker said. Incumbent Deutsch, Los Angeles, an Interpublic unit, had withdrawn from the review. BBDO may have had an edge since sibling PHD handles the automaker's media, which is expected to total $200 million this year.

WPP sees 11% boost in revenue; expects 4% in '05

[London] WPP Group posted a 57.2% increase in net income, to $563.2 million, on revenue of $8.28 billion, up 11.4% from 2003. WPP management forecast the streak will continue in 2005. The company is predicting 3% to 4% revenue growth on an organic basis, slightly better than the 2% to 3% it expects for the ad industry as a whole. January revenue is up 6% and WPP (along with Grey Global Group) has netted $600 million in new business so far this year. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq36b

Fox set to win sweeps; CBS/ABC close behind

[New York] The February sweeps are set to wrap up March 2 with Fox likely winning the adults 18-49 race and ABC and CBS neck-and-neck for second. According to Nielsen Media Research, for the first three weeks and even excluding the Super Bowl, Fox has nabbed a 4.9 rating/18 share in adults 18-49, followed by CBS (3.9/10) and ABC (3.8/10). NBC (3.6/9), which led last February's sweeps, drops to fourth place. ABC's first three weeks are up 19% from a year ago, and it will count on ratings from Sunday night's Oscars to help move it into second.

Viacom, Clear Channel report radio weakness

[New York] Viacom and Clear Channel reported fourth-quarter and yearend results last week, and both cited revenue weaknesses in radio. Viacom took an impairment charge of $18 billion in the fourth quarter, an acknowledgement that its radio and outdoor businesses have declined in value. Clear Channel noted only a 2% growth in radio in 2004, with the fourth quarter remaining flat. Clear Channel also acknowledged its first quarter is down 5.6% from the same period last year, largely due to developing the 15- and 30-second spots that are a cornerstone of its Less Is More campaign. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq35t

America Online launches local-search product

[Dulles, Va.] In an attempt to keep step with the major search providers, America Online last week launched a local-search product by compiling 14 million business listings from its other properties. The new AOL product brings in listings from AOL's Yellow Pages, CityGuide, Moviefone and MapQuest. A partnership with Topics.net, a local-news provider, will soon be announced to be included on the platform. Local search for 2004 was estimated to be $502 million, according to Jupiter Research.

Richards group hires former rival Temerlin

[Dallas] Independent Richards Group last week named one-time Texas ad rival Liener Temerlin as a consultant. Mr. Temerlin, who worked with Richards Group founder Stan Richards at another firm nearly three decades ago, was a founder of Irving, Texas-based Temerlin McClain, now called TM Advertising and owned by Interpublic Group of Cos. He left the agency in 2001 and launched an eponymous consultancy, serving clients like ExxonMobil and Perot Cos.

Darden taps Setta for Red Lobster VP role

[Orlando, Fla.] Still trying to engineer a turnaround at its Red Lobster chain, Darden Restaurants elevated Salli Setta to exec VP-marketing for Red Lobster from senior VP-culinary and beverage for sibling brand Olive Garden. Ms. Setta, 39, will oversee marketing, culinary and beverage, consumer insights, guest relations and public relations, and will report to Red Lobster President Kim Lopdrup.

Revlon unveils perfume; separate review for Almay

[New York] Revlon is planning to unveil a new perfume, believed to be called Flair, a product launch included in the ongoing review of its $125 million ad account expected to be decided later this week or next week. Finalists are incumbent Interpublic's Deutsch, Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler and WPP Group's Berlin Cameron. The cosmetics-maker is conducting a separate review for its Almay line of hypoallergenic cosmetics and skin-care products and that decision date is expected to come soon. Measured media spending on that line is about $20 million a year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Revlon declined to comment.

FYI ...

Omnicom media agency OMD has named a new director of emerging media platforms, elevating Jeff Minsky to the post. He was previously East Coast media director. Mr. Minksy's role will be to maximize the impact of such services as broadband and other emerging platforms. ... Miller Brewing Co. in April will roll out Brutal Fruit, a line of fruit-flavored alcoholic beverages, into test markets in Richmond, Va., Seattle and Tampa, Fla., according to executives familiar with the situation. The beverage was originally marketed in South Africa by Miller parent SABMiller. A Miller spokesman didn't return calls. ... Fairchild Publications is expected to announce today that it will launch its upscale parenting title Cookie with a November `05 issue. As previously reported in Ad Age, the title will be edited by Pilar Guzman. No publisher has been appointed yet. Rate base at launch will be 300,000. Six issues are planned for 2006. Separately, three staffers of Fairchild's Elegant Bride were dismissed on Feb. 24 as part of an editorial reorganization under Antonia van der Meer, who added oversight of that title to her existing duties at Modern Bride earlier this month. ... Nissan North America is backing its second-generation Xterra sport utility with an estimated $50 million blitz that breaks on national TV on March 7. Retailer Lands' End, a subsidiary of Sears, is searching for a new agency after Havas' McKinney, Durham, N.C., resigned the business last week. Lands' End spends about $30 million a year on measured media, according TNS Media Intelligence.

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