Geico, Google settlement opens door to search suits
[Chevy Chase, Md.] Advertisers who buy competitors' names as keywords to drive traffic to their Web sites are in danger of being sued for trademark infringement. Auto insurer Geico, for one, has sent letters giving rivals fair warning. The letters follow the resolution of a lawsuit Geico filed against Google. The suit alleged the search engine was liable for trademark violations resulting from the sale of Geico's name to competing insurance companies. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
General Mills vows double-digit ad increase
[Minneapolis] General Mills vowed to analysts it will boost advertising spending by double digits for its Big G cereal portfolio as well as other key businesses including Progresso soup and Hamburger Helper. The company, which spent $539 million on measured media in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, hopes the influx of spending can help reverse market share declines it has seen since hiking prices on cereal, its largest business and one that contributes roughly 25% of operating profit.
NFL taps IBM's Baird as senior VP-marketing
[New York] The National Football League has hired Lisa Baird as its new senior VP-marketing, an NFL spokesman said. Ms. Baird, currently VP-worldwide integrated marketing communications for IBM Corp., will begin her new role with the league next month. She will eventually replace Phil Guarascio, the former General Motors marketing guru who joined the NFL two years ago as its chief of marketing and sales. The spokesman said Mr. Guarascio is retiring next year.
Survey: Marketers happy with agencies
[New York] Agency CEOs, take heart: Just over three-quarters of marketer respondents to a survey conducted by the Association of National Advertisers said their lead strategic and creative agency is meeting expectations, and 18% reported their agency is exceeding expectations. In addition, asked to describe the status of their relationships with their lead strategic and creative agency now versus one year ago, 35% said it was better, and 60% said it was about the same. Full results of the survey are set to be announced Sept. 15 at the 2005 Agency Relations Forum in New York City.
Gillette to announce latest four-blade razor
[Boston] Gillette Co. is preparing to announce the launch of its much-anticipated next-generation men's razor system Sept. 14-a four-bladed self-lubricating razor to ship in January, with ads breaking on or before the Super Bowl Feb. 5, according to people familiar with the matter. The executives would not disclose or had not been briefed on the brand name. Recent Gillette trademark filings for razor systems include Fusion and Icon. A Gillette spokesman declined to comment on the subject of the Sept. 14 conference for analysts and media in New York. Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, handles creative, with public relations by sibling Porter Novelli and media planning and buying by WPP Group's MindShare, New York.
Eastwood resigns from Y&R, New York
[New York] Matt Eastwood, chief creative officer at Y&R, New York, is leaving the agency to pursue other opportunities, a Y&R spokeswoman confirmed. Mr. Eastwood was one of a handful of executives appointed by Ann Fudge, then Chairman-CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, in July 2004 to function as a so-called Catalyst Team. Mr. Eastwood in an e-mail said he had resigned. "It was the best thing for me to do right now in my career," he said.
Henry Luce III, the oldest son of Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., died Sept. 7. He was 80. Mr. Luce worked for Time as a Washington correspondent and then as a national and foreign affairs writer in New York. He later held posts including publisher of Fortune and publisher of Time. He was chairman of the Henry Luce Foundation from 1990 through 2002. ... John Gaffney, chief operating officer at Havas' MPG, is leaving the media buying-and-planning agency, a spokesman for the agency said. Ellen Comley, hired in August as senior VP-managing director in the Boston office, is assuming his duties.