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'Brokeback' may cause AFA to quit Wal-Mart

[cincinnati] The American Family Association has turned on Wal-Mart Stores because it claims the retailer is stocking "abortion" pill RU-486 as well as heavily promoting the DVD release of "Brokeback Mountain." AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon urged members of its Million Moms action group to call Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville or stop in to speak to their local store managers in person. While Wal-Mart does carry the "morning-after" pill, a Wal-Mart spokesman said it does not carry RU-486. Regarding "Brokeback," the spokesman said the store carries it "because a broad segment of the customer base wants to buy the latest titles." See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar57g

LG Electronics launches global review

[seoul] LG Electronics is conducting a global, market-by-market advertising review, including its agency relationship in the U.S., a company spokesman said. WPP Group's BrandBuzz, New York, the incumbent on the $50 million North American advertising account, which includes mobile phones, consumer electronics, digital appliances and information technology, is defending. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar57h

ABC invests $500K in its optimizer tool

[new york] Disney Cos.' ABC has invested up to $500,000 to develop a research tool to help marketers find the greatest concentrations of their target market. ABC sales executives took the wraps off the new product, called M4, in presentations to agencies last week. Media agencies, which generally have their own optimizer tools, have so far reacted positively to the data, but want to hear more before passing judgment. Warren Siddall, VP-sales development at ABC, said the research is being viewed as a pilot at this stage and wouldn't supplant traditional guarantees based on ratings. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar56s

Four companies bid on Pfizer's oral, OTC biz

[cincinnati] Four companies-Colgate-Palmolive Co., Reckitt Benckiser, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis-have placed initial bids for Pfizer's $3.9 billion oral-care and over-the-counter drug business, according to a person familiar with the sale. The process could still result in a spin-off of the unit-which includes such brands as Listerine, Rolaids and Visine-as an independent business, according to people familiar with the matter. In a talk to investors in March, Colgate Chief Operating Officer Ian Cook said Colgate will "bid aggressively" on Listerine, and didn't rule out a bid encompassing the OTC drugs as well. Spokespeople for the other companies declined to comment or could not be reached by press time.

NFL taps BBDO for project work

[new york] The National Football League has tapped Omnicom Group's BBDO North America for a series of undisclosed projects, the league said. The deal does not affect the league's relationship with WPP Group's Y&R, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. BBDO referred calls to the NFL. Mr. McCarthy did not say what the projects would be, but did say that it would cover off-season and in-season marketing. BBDO, New York, Atmosphere BBDO, Rapp Collins and OMD USA will all be utilized to provide strategic marketing and creative support to the league. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar56v

Chevy online contest attracts Tahoe-haters

[detroit] Chevrolet's online contest asking consumers to create commercials for the 2007 Tahoe sport utility has attracted some negative entries. Several of the commercials, posted on blog dailykos.com, criticize the vehicle for eating gas, ruining the planet and contributing to global warming. The "F" word appears in supers in at least two of the videos, part of a branded-entertainment deal between the General Motor Corp. brand and NBC's "The Apprentice." Chevrolet had no comment. The contest closes April 10. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aar49n

Motorola, Omnicom cement network deal

[schaumburg, ill.] Motorola and Omnicom have signed a formal agreement naming BBDO lead agency in coordinating assignments among Omnicom agency groups. The deal involves BBDO New York, AMV BBDO, Motorola's new agency in Europe, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and Siegel and Gale. A Motorola spokeswoman said the deal does not exclude WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, 180 Amsterdam and other agencies from handling Motorola assignments. FCBi continues as interactive agency and Carat handles media. Omnicom has similar arrangements with PepisCo and Bank of America.

MSNBC picks SS&K for $7 million effort

[redmond, wash.] MSNBC has chosen marketing communications firm SS&K to promote its brand in the site's first marketing campaign in a decade. The marketing budget for the effort launching in late summer is less than $7 million, according to an executive close to the deal. MSNBC.com has not had an agency since the mid-1990s. The overarching campaign goal is to attract new users to the site and increase time spent there, but Catherine Captain, VP-marketing for MSNBC.com, said part of the objective is to uncover the meaning of the MSNBC.com brand beyond being a news site. "I am particularly concerned about distinguishing ourselves in a market where every news site is starting to look a lot alike," she said.

FYI ...

CBS's Saturday morning block is being turned over to DIC Entertainment starting September 16. The kids' programming company has paid CBS a flat rate to take over the ad sales for the three-hour Saturday morning block. The slot is being rebranded, "CBS' Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party." ... MTV Networks' VH1 has named Rick Beispel to head its ad sales. Mr. Beispel, who will be senior VP of national ad sales, was previously VP of new-business development at MTV. He replaces former VH1 ad sales chief Sean Moran who was tapped two months ago to head ad sales at MTV, MTV2 and MTVu. ... QuikDrop International, a Costa Mesa, Calif., eBay seller, to Palisades Media Group for media buying and planning on its $1 million account. There was no previous agency.
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