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[Schaumburg, Ill.] Motorola has handed an undisclosed branding assignment to independent 180 Amsterdam, prompting speculation that WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather is losing its grip on the cellphone marketer's $100 million account. While Motorola executives said that Ogilvy continues to be Motorola's worldwide advertising agency, executives close to the situation claim that CMO Geoffrey Frost is unhappy with its recent work and has been talking to a number of creative boutiques in the U.S. and Europe including Mother, London. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq45m

MDC gains control of Zyman in $64M deal

[Toronto] MDC Partners on April 1 acquired 61.6% of Zyman Group, the Atlanta marketing strategy firm headed by former Coca-Cola Co. CMO Sergio Zyman, for $63.8 million in a cash-and-stock deal. Mr. Zyman, 59, remains as chairman-CEO, and becomes the second-largest shareholder in MDC Partners. Miles Nadal, MDC's chairman-CEO, will remain the company's largest shareholder. MDC has stakes in numerous marketing firms, including Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, and two Toronto companies, Zig and Bruce Mau Design.

CBS taps MarketWatch founder for digital unit

[New York] Larry Kramer, founder of CBS MarketWatch (now Dow Jones' MarketWatch) has been named president of a new division, CBS Digital Media, which will incorporate CBS.com, CBS SportsLine.com, CBSNews.com and UPN.com into one division. He will start up a new sales operation to serve the unit. The integration of the divisions will allow CBS to offer marketers integrated deals across the online platforms, while still presenting online-TV packages. Industry executives say Scot McLernon, who had been head of global sales at CBS MarketWatch, is Mr. Kramer's preferred choice for running sales.

Toyota shuffles key U.S. marketing staff

[Torrance, Calif.] Toyota Motor Sales USA promoted key marketing staff. Jim Farley, VP-Scion, moves to VP-marketing of the Toyota Division, succeeding James Lentz, who was promoted to general manager of the division. Mark Templin, VP-Lexus marketing since last May, moves to the top Scion post and will be succeeded by Deborah Wahl Meyer, who had been corporate manager-marketing communications at Toyota Division.

Cohen succeeds Black as Lifetime president-CEO

[New York] Lifetime has announced that Betty Cohen, a longtime Turner exec who oversaw the creation of Cartoon Network, as president-CEO. The successor to Carole Black, whose last day was March 21, has spent the past two years as an independent consultant working to develop media technology. Much of the speculation surrounding the top job at Lifetime, which is jointly owned by Hearst and Disney, focused on a handful of candidates from within the Disney family.

Gibson puts name on Universal Amphitheater

[Los Angeles] Gibson Guitar has signed a 10-year naming rights deal with the Universal Studios Partnership group to put its brand on the Universal Amphitheater. The venue will be called The Gibson Amphitheater at Universal Citywalk via the deal, which is estimated at between $10 million to $15 million. The agreement covers the venue, themed areas and sales and marketing programs.

Diageo names Kelly-Ennis as chief marketing officer

[Norwalk, Conn.] Spirits giant Diageo last week tapped Debra Kelly-Ennis, president and chief operating officer of General Motors' Saab USA unit, as chief marketing officer of Diageo North America. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq45f

Coors reveals new ads from FCB; bolsters Light

[Golden, Colo.] Molson Coors Brewing Co. is focusing marketing efforts and dollars on turning around ailing Coors Light, brewery execs told wholesalers at a meeting last week in Orlando, according to people at the meeting. The brewer showed new ads from lead agency Foote Cone & Belding, Chicago, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., that used humorous situations and Rocky Mountain imagery to play up the brand's "coldest tasting beer in the world" positioning. Coors Brewing is trying to reverse two years of declining Coors Light sales.

Judge tosses part of Omnicom securities suit

[New York] A federal judge dismissed part of a class-action lawsuit against Omnicom Group stemming from its spinoff of stakes in interactive shops that it later bought back. U.S. District Judge Richard Casey dismissed allegations of securities fraud on organic-growth calculations and other aspects of the case but left untouched fraud allegations related to the Seneca transaction, a post-dot-com-bust deal whose unearthing helped lead to a precipitous 2002 stock slide. The parties are due in court for a conference on April 15

Burger King, McDonald's testing premium coffees

[Miami] Continuing it move toward premium products, Burger King Corp. is testing an upgraded java in select markets under the name BK Joe, the marketer confirmed. Category leader McDonald's Corp. also is testing premium brews with the intent to rollout the upgraded java in its U.S. stores later this year.

FYI ...

Nils Peyron, 47, to exec VP-global brand director on Microsoft, at Interpublic's McCann Erickson, San Francisco, from exec VP-chief marketing officer, The Limited's Bath & Body Works. He succeeds Harry Corsham, exec VP-director, client services on Microsoft who moves to exec VP-regional account director on global accounts, Asia Pacific, for McCann Erickson, Melbourne, Australia.

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