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[New York] The closely watched Apollo media-measurement initiative may get another test launch as partners Arbitron and VNU are developing plans for a second pilot they expect to propose in 30 days, an Arbitron spokesman said. Arbitron completed an initial pilot of the methodology and technology in Houston late last year, he said, but added that "advertisers are telling us they want to see what the data will look like." The ambitious single-source database initiative, backed by charter client Procter & Gamble Co., would wed media exposure data from Arbitron's Portable People Meter technology for TV, radio and eventually other media with consumer panel data on retail purchases from ACNielsen.

Sorrell made JWT plea as Jaguar went to Euro

[New York] As the review for Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar global creative account moved into the final stage, WPP Group Chairman Martin Sorrell made appeals to keep the brand with a WPP agency, confirmed Mark Fields, chairman of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, which includes Jaguar. Mr. Sorrell went to bat for JWT in the eleventh hour of a review pitting JWT against Havas' Euro RSCG, which was named the winner March 23. The incumbent was WPP's Y&R, Irvine. Jaguar spends some $150 million in media globally. Ford Motor was WPP's biggest client worldwide; in 2002 the automaker accounted for 9% of WPP's $5.9 billion in global revenue, according to Advertising Age estimates. Jaguar said its relationships with WPP's MindShare, Mediaedge:CIA and Wunderman remain unchanged. WPP could not be reached for comment.

BMW's McDowell moves over to work on Mini USA

[Woodcliff Lake, N.J.] Jim McDowell, 52, VP-marketing of BMW of North America since 1993, will move to the automaker's Mini USA unit as VP heading marketing and sales, effective April 1. The move gives the well-respected marketer business-operation's experience. Jack Pitney, 42, VP of Mini USA since its inception in early 2001, will succeed Mr. McDowell at BMW.

Kirk leaves marketing position at Kao Brands

[Cincinnati] Brad Kirk has left as VP-marketing and sales of Kao Brands, the U.S. unit of Japanese consumer products company Kao Corp. "It's been an exciting three-and-a-half-year ride and I'm proud of what was accomplished," said Mr. Kirk. He declined to comment about future plans. Mr. Kirk helped integrate Kao's 2001 acquisition of the John Frieda hair-care line, which has steadily gained market share in recent years despite major brand launches by L'Oreal's Garnier Fructis and Unilever's Dove.

Mitsubishi's Martin exits troubled automaker

[Cypress, Calif.] Mitsubishi Motors North America's Bob Martin, director of brand marketing since last fall, has resigned, an executive there confirmed. Mr. Martin was wooed to the automaker from Hyundai Motor America by Finbarr O'Neill, who left Hyundai as president-CEO to become Mitsubishi co-chair and CEO in September 2003. But Mr. O'Neill resigned unexpectedly in January. The automaker said it's too soon to discuss a successor. Mitsubishi and its Japanese parent are in the midst of a revitalization program to return the company to profitability. Separately, the first work from Mitsubishi's new creative agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York-for the 2006 Eclipse-will make its debut June 12

Trial date set for Carr's suit against Kirshenbaum

[San Francisco] A San Francisco judge has set an April 25 trial date in the $6 million fraud suit filed against MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners by former manager of its West Coast operation, Nigel Carr. The suit alleges Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond defrauded him of his share of the reported $75 million sale of a majority stake in the San Francisco and New York agency. A Kirshenbaum spokeswoman said Kirshenbaum would not "try our case in the press but will do so in a San Francisco courtroom on April 25 and look forward to disproving Nigel Carr's claims."

Digitas sees $25M drop as AT&T cuts back biz

[Boston] Digitas expects revenue from AT&T Corp. to drop to $4 million to $6 million this year from $30.6 million, or 12% of fee revenue, in 2004, according to an SEC filing. Digitas attributed the reduction to AT&T's 2004 exit from the consumer market. AT&T, Digitas' No. 3 client last year, in January agreed to be acquired by SBC Communications.

Microsoft promotions put focus on marketing

[Redmond, Wash.] Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer, in an email to employees meant to underscore the emergence of the marketing function in a corporation usually focused on technology, promoted three key marketing executives. Mich Mathews, who heads the "Realizing Potential" ad campaign, and Yusuf Mehdi, involved in MSN search, are now senior VPs. Mike Delman, head of the Global Marcom Group, is now corporate VP.

MSLO to sell all spots in new show

[New York] In an unusual move for syndicated TV, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, rather than NBC Universal Television Distribution, will sell all the ad spots in its upcoming daytime show to be hosted by Martha Stewart, TelevisionWeek reports today. The company is looking to hire sales executives in New York and Chicago. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia wants to package advertising deals for its new TV show with its print magazines and other media and is targeting $15 million to $20 million in annual advertising sales, according to media agency executives.

FYI ...

Estee Lauder Cos. Global President John Demsey has named Andrea Robinson to the new position of chief marketing officer of the company's flagship Lauder brand. Ms. Robinson was formerly president of L'Oreal USA's Ralph Lauren Fragrances Worldwide. ... Coca-Cola Co.'s Sprite brand has hired SF Interactive, a division of independent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif., to revamp its Web site, executives familiar with the situation said. ... Kraft Foods this week launches a campaign for its Miracle Whip salad dressings emphasizing the brand's better flavor and half the fat of mayonnaise. The estimated $10 million TV and print effort is from JWT, Chicago. ... The San Francisco Giants are cutting back on MVP slugger Barry Bond's ad appearances due to his injuries, not other issues, a team executive said. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq42z

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