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[New York] Interpublic Group of Cos. will not nominate former CEOs David Bell and John Dooner to its board of directors, according to a proxy statement sent to shareholders and filed with the SEC. The board is being shrunk from 10 directors to eight. "In keeping with best practices in corporate governance, we are now moving to a board made up solely of independent directors," Interpublic said in a statement. In the statement, the board also urged a vote against a proposal to sell the company. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar05i

Yahoo, Google see record revenue gains

[Mountain View and Sunnyvale, Calif.] In a dramatic demonstration of the continuing growth of search and online advertising, Google and Yahoo last week reported record revenue for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. Google posted revenue of $1.58 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up 96% over the third quarter of 2004, and a 14% rise over the quarter before. Yahoo's revenue totaled $1.33 billion, a 46% increase over the same period last year.

ConAgra picks Crispin for Orville Redenbacher

[Omaha, Neb.] ConAgra has handed ad duties on its Orville Redenbacher popcorn brand to Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, according to an agency representative. Creative had been handled by Deutsch, New York, which picked up the business in April. ConAgra executives didn't return calls by press time and a Deutsch spokeswoman declined to comment. ConAgra spent about $10 million on the brand in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Coke taps AKQA to lead interactive duties

[Atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. has awarded lead interactive agency duties to AKQA, San Francisco, following a global review, the marketer said. AKQA will lead Coke's global and local interactive agency roster "in developing long term creative and technical efficiencies throughout our system" and helping "coordinate different projects on both a global and a local scale." See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar05p

A-B to roll out strong seasonal brew

[St. Louis] Anheuser-Busch next month is rolling out Budweiser Brewmasters' Private Reserve. The beer, which has 8.5% alcohol by volume and will be sold in 46-ounce bottles, will retail between $10 and $11, according to a wholesaler. Glassware also will be sold. The product is positioned against seasonal gift packs marketed by spirits marketers. A-B didn't return a call for comment.

NBA attempts to overcome image issues

[New York] The National Basketball Association has launched two initiatives to help the beleaguered league re-brand itself with a better image. Commissioner David Stern last week announced the NBA's largest ever cause-marketing campaign, "NBA Cares," an ambitious program to raise $100 million over five years for several charitable causes. Mr. Stern also announced a controversial new dress code in which players will have to dress "business casual" for all league-related events. The policy prohibits sneakers, caps and jewelry worn outside the shirt.

O'Mara, Van Andel launch Evil Genius shop

[Detroit] Matt O'Mara and Doug Van Andel, two former executives of Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif., have formed a new agency, Evil Genius. The agency is located in St. Clair Shores, Mich. and Los Angeles and already has one unnamed client. The partners plan to offer media-neutral marketing solutions without a lot of meetings and red tape.

U.S. ad spending to lag rest of world

[New York] U.S. ad spending will grow by 3.6% in 2005, lagging worldwide growth of 5.2%, according to ZenithOptimedia's latest quarterly ad spending forecast, out today. ZenithOptimedia noted that a disproportionate amount of growth-27% of worldwide ad spending growth-will come this year from Brazil, Russia, India and China.

FYI...

Premium denim marketer Seven for All Mankind is expected to choose an agency by month's end for its estimated $25 million account. The review includes New York agencies Brand Buzz, Mother and Lipman Advertising. ... CareerBuilder.com claims it is the first advertiser to renew its commitment to the Super Bowl, airing on ABC network on Feb. 5, 2006. The online recruiter is making its second Super Bowl appearance and confirms it has bought two :30 second spots in the big game.

Bollore watch

20%... up from 15% at this time last week. Vincent Bollore’s stake in Aegis Group is growing daily and some speculate he wants a seat on the board. See P. 8

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