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[Woodcliff Lakes, N.J.] BMW of North America is expected to set criteria and timing for its national creative pitch this week or next with consultant Select Resources International, said executives close to the matter. Among the shops expected to be invited are: Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York; Crispin, Porter & Bogusky, Miami; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Cramer Krasselt, Chicago; Deutsch, Los Angeles; and BMW's regional dealer shops Publicis, New York and Dallas as well as Grey, Los Angeles. None of the shops would comment. Incumbent Fallon, Minneapolis, decided not to defend. BMW spent $137 million in measured media in 2004 and $11 million in 2005's first quarter, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The pitch comes as BMW is studying cuts across all departments, the executives said. BMW said no staff cuts are planned and no shops have been contacted .

Coalition ads promote legal music downloads

[Washington] Seizing on a Supreme Court file sharing decision, Music United for Strong Internet Copyright Coalition, which includes the recording industry, songwriters and artist groups, launched a bus shelter billboard campaign featuring graffiti-like graphics urging legal downloads. The billboards are slated to run in 12 cities for a month, with the cities changing throughout the year. The recording and movie industries are considering a far larger effort.

Senate leader supports DTC-ad moratorium

[Washington] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has called for a voluntary moratorium on DTC advertising during the first two years after a drug's approval. Mr. Frist, who is also a physician, suggested current advertising offers "fantasyland images. Everywhere I go people are coming up to me and saying direct-to-consumer advertising has gone overboard." The endorsement of the Senate majority leader dramatically increases pressure on pharmaceutical companies to rein in their ads. Already Bristol-Myers Squibb has adopted a voluntary one-year moratorium for its new products even as the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is readying revisions to the industry ad code. QwikFIND aaq71v

P&G picks Red for Prilosec direct effort

[Cincinnati] Procter & Gamble has awarded a direct-response driven assignment for its Prilosec OTC brand to Cincinnati-based marketing and production company Red, the agency said. Billings were not disclosed. Red will produce 60- and 120-second TV spots on national cable for the daily frequent heartburn medication. The spots will feature consumer testimonials, with users describing the positive impact of Prilosec OTC on various aspects of their lives. The commercials also depict how the product acts in shutting down many acid-producing pumps in the stomach while still leaving enough acid for digestion.

NYC taps marketing big guns for Olympic council

[New York] In anticipation of July 6's International Olympic Committee vote to choose the host city for the 2012 Summer Games, NYC2012 has put together an Olympic Sports Marketing Council featuring several leading names in the industry. The council includes: DDB Worldwide Chairman Keith Reinhard; Brian Collins, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather; former General Motors marketing chief and current National Football League lead executive Phil Guarascio; Dennis Swanson, exec VP-chief operating officer for Viacom; Rick Dudley, chairman of sports-marketing powerhouse Octagon; and Robert Prazmark, president of Olympic sales and marketing for IMG. The council will be chaired by National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern. The group will provide comprehensive marketing advice to all 28 international sports federations if New York is chosen as site of the 2012 games.

Analysts scale back cable-market estimates

[New York] In sharp contrast to last year, this year's cable market is only about three-quarters done. Most buyers and sellers expect it to wrap up within the next two weeks. CIBC analyst Michael Gallant last week revised year-over-year growth estimates down to 5%, noting "we believe the cable industry is on track for a down upfront in dollars committed." Cable sellers say it's too early to call the market but several media buyers suggest cable will still be slightly up.


Bank of America Corp., Charlotte, N.C., agreed to buy MBNA Corp., Wilmington, Del., for $35 billion in a deal that would make BofA one of the world's biggest credit-card issuers. ... Four advertisers alleged in a lawsuit that the Star Tribune of Minneapolis inflated circulation figures and regularly required distributors to deliver unsold newspapers to homes, hospitals and even schools that were not in session. McClatchy Co., the Star Tribune's parent and a co-defendant in the suit, said it "forcefully denied" the allegations. QwikFIND aaq71i ... More than 1 million podcasting subscriptions were recorded in just two days at Apple Computer's iTunes after the company launched iTunes 4.9, its first software version to include podcast support. ... Meredith Corp. began absorbing acquisitions Parents, Child, Fitness, Family Circle and Ser Padres magazines from Gruner & Jahr Publishing USA by firing Susan Ungaro, editor in chief at Family Circle for 11 years. Linda Fears, editor in chief for new business development at G&J, was named acting editor in chief. Meredith offered about 315 G&J employees permanent jobs, offered temporary posts to about 75 more and left another 75 workers to seek new work, according to the company. QwikFIND aaq71k ... Liz Sarachek Blacker is leaving her job as executive director-sales for Yahoo U.S. Hispanic to become senior VP-media at Washington nonprofit One Economy QwikFIND aaq71n

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