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Interpublic still mulling merger of FCB, Draft

[new york] Interpublic Group of Cos. Chairman-CEO Michael Roth last week confirmed the holding company is still considering a merger of two of its largest units, traditional ad agency FCB and marketing-services agency Draft, in response to a changing marketing environment. In a statement he said discussions continue and that it's "too early to tell if a combination will take place or what we will decide is the appropriate model and structure to deliver the most powerful integrated offering."

Jim Kelly expected to step down from 'Time'

[new york] Time magazine Managing Editor Jim Kelly is expected to leave his post by the end of this year, but has not yet started the quest for his successor. Mr. Kelly, who has been managing editor since January 2001, refused to comment on a report in the New York Daily News on April 27 that he would be leaving "as early as" June, but those close to him described him as "surprised" by the definitive tone of that report. Time Inc. Editor in Chief John Huey will lead the search for a successor, but it is expected Mr. Kelly will have a role in choosing candidates. A Time Inc. spokeswoman declined to comment on "speculation regarding personnel matters."

NBC plans to take all shows beyond TV

[new york] NBC is making an effort to give every show on the network a broadband or wireless component and is making the initiative the centerpiece of its upfront sell this year. NBC Universal Television Group CEO Jeff Zucker outlined the push last week dubbing it, "TV 360." Mr. Zucker said: "TV 360 is our entire approach to TV. Programming can be developed for linear applications, but every program has to have a broadband component or a mobile application. We are going to the upfront in the next few weeks with that being our mantra." The network is working on linking its No. 1 morning show, "Today," with its soon to be finalized Web purchase, iVillage.

P&G, TLC team up on Home Made Simple show

[cincinnati] Discovery Networks' TLC will launch a Home Made Simple television series-a spinoff of Procter & Gamble Co.'s seven-year-old online relationship-marketing program-in what appears to be the first case of a marketer's online program spawning a TV series (AA, Sept. 19, 2005). The series, which will include brand integration from such P&G home-care brands as Swiffer, Febreze, Mr. Clean, Cascade and Dawn as well as other non-competing non-P&G brands, begins a 13-week run in the 1 p.m. Sunday time slot on June 4. Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, handled the deal and negotiations between P&G and Discovery.

NFL 'enhancements' face network resistance

[new york] The NFL is talking to media buyers about going beyond the 30-second spot with in-game "enhancements." Media buyers have expressed interest although the NFL has hit a stumbling block since not all broadcast network partners want to change the way things operate currently. All need to be in broad agreement for the offering to move forward. Executives have said CBS wants things to remain as they are, without the intrusions. The network did not comment. Fox is said to be highly interested in such additions but did not comment on the discussions. NBC said discussions would be concluded soon.

H&R Block stays put at Campbell Mithun

[kansas city, mo.] Tax-preparer H&R Block is keeping its $80 million ad business at Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, the marketer said. The Interpublic-owned shop successfully defended in a review that included sibling agencies Deutsch, Los Angeles, and Mullen, Wenham, Mass., as well as Havas' Arnold, Boston, and Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago.

Mexican shareholders up stakes in Univision

[new york] Two Mexican shareholders moved to increase their stakes last week in Spanish-language network Univision Communications, up for sale since February. Media giant Grupo Televisa, already Univision's main programming supplier and owner of an 11.4% stake in the U.S. Hispanic media group, authorized its executives to work on a plan, most likely a joint bid with other buyers, to increase the company's stake. And Carlos Slim Domit, son of a Mexican billionaire, added 1% to his 2.79% in Univision.

Fortune Brands sees 14% Q1 profit increase

[deerfield, ill.] Double-digit sales increases for Jim Beam and Makers Mark bourbons helped propel Fortune Brands to a 14% profit increase during the first-quarter, topping previous Wall Street estimates, the company announced April 28. Following the acquisition of several major brands last summer, Fortune's Beam Global Spirits & Wine unit has bulked up its marketing team in an attempt to grow those and other brands internationally (see story, P. 16).

Bayer launches 31 spots over 31 days for Aleve

[new york] Bayer today breaks a $10 million ad campaign for over-the-counter arthritis pain medication Aleve with a unique twist: 31 different spots on network TV over 31 days featuring 31 different people. The campaign, from Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, is called the "Daily Dose of Good News." The 31 spots over 31 days coincide with National Arthritis Month. The ads will run on all major networks in various dayparts on programs such as NBC's "Today Show," CBS's "CSI" and ABC's "World News Tonight."

Mazda launches CX-7 with Google Earth effort

[irvine, calif.] Mazda North American Operations wants prospects to discover its second SUV, the CX-7, so today it unveils an online promotion at as part of the launch. Using Google Earth satellite images, visitors must solve geographic video clues for a chance to win the SUV. Mazda will promote via search-engine marketing, print ads and online. Doner, Southfield, Mich., and Sarkissian Mason, New York, handled.

FYI ...

Anne Devereux, who led BBDO's direct-to-consumer practice, is moving to Omnicom Group siblings LLNS and TBWA/WorldHealth as CEO of both units. Her responsibilities at BBDO are being taken over by Ray Hilton, exec VP-senior account director.
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