[Bentonville, Ark.] Wal-Mart's Sam's Club warehouse division, has begun a search for an advertising agency to handle its creative, executives familiar with the review said. The search, which is being handled separately from Wal-Mart's $578 million general-market creative and media review, could involve spending of as much as $100 million. The assignment could mark a major shift in the warehouse club category. Rival Costco, for example, spent less than $1 million last year, and its marketing centered on a direct-mail magazine to members. Sam's Club spent $15 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. GSD&M, Austin, Texas, was the previous agency. Sam's Club did not comment.
MTV greenlights Axe's 'Gamekillers' for series
[New York] MTV has greenlit "The Gamekillers" for a series this fall, said Justin Wilkes, @radicalmedia executive producer. Created by advertising agency Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, and production company @radicalmedia, "The Gamekillers" is a scripted reality show funded by Unilever's Axe brand. A one-hour special of the show aired in February. Still to be determined: the number of episodes produced, the premier date, and how the content will evolve. Bartle Bogle declined to comment. MTV said "no official decision has been made." David Rubin, brand development director, Unilever's Axe, which owns the content, confirmed MTV's interest in developing a show. "We think it is great."
A-B inks exclusive sports deal with NBC
[St. Louis] Anheuser-Busch Cos. has reached a deal with NBC to be the only alcohol advertiser during the 2009 and 2012 Super Bowls. The agreement gives the No. 1 brewer a significant presence on NBC's NFL telecasts through 2012, and it also makes A-B the exclusive alcohol sponsor of broadcasts of the Ryder Cup and the Presidents' Cup for 2007 through 2011, as well as the Kentucky Derby and The Preakness through 2010. In April, A-B announced a similar deal with Fox and CBS for the 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 Super Bowl broadcasts.
Drexler retires; Young steps up at Optimedia
[New York] Publicis Groupe's Optimedia U.S. CEO Mike Drexler will retire this summer and be replaced by Antony Young, currently CEO of ZenithOptimedia's U.K. group. Mr. Young, a 41-year-old New Zealander who will become president of Optimedia U.S., helped launch Zenith in Asia and prior to his current post was CEO of ZenithOptimedia's Asian operations. Mr. Drexler, 67, a 40-year industry veteran, has been at Optimedia since 2002.
Pfizer backs out of insomnia-drug deal
[New York] Pfizer said it has backed out of a deal with San Diego-based Neurocrine Biosciences to develop and co-market the insomnia medication Indiplon. The move comes on the heels of the FDA's decision last month to ask Neurocrine to re-analyze safety and efficacy data before it would approve lower doses of the drug. The FDA also said it likely would not approve a 15-milligram dose of the drug, which would have been the most marketable. Neurocrine said it would still try to market the brand on its own. It is not known if New York shop McGarry Bowen, selected last year by Pfizer to launch Indiplon, will remain as AOR. The agency could not be reached for comment.
Conde Nast taps Cooper for 'Portfolio'
[New York] Conde Nast Publications' planned business magazine Portfolio hired veteran reporter Matt Cooper away from Time magazine, where he had been Time.com's political editor since April and was previously White House correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief. Mr. Cooper avoided jail time last year when he and Time turned over notes that had been subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States special counsel investigating the CIA leak case. He will become Portfolio's Washington editor, effective this September.
Miami win could net Wade $10M in deals
[Miami] Dwyane Wade's MVP-winning performance in leading the Miami Heat to the National Basketball Association championship could be worth $10 million in new endorsements, according to sports-marketing expert Bob Dorfman of Pickett Advertising, San Francisco. In just his third season, Mr. Wade already has a signature Converse shoe, the league's best-selling jersey, his name on People's 50 Most Beautiful list, and his face on the cover of EA Sports' NBA Live 2006. He was also the only Finals player with a national commercial running during the games-Gatorade's "Big Head" spot.
Jaguar, Mazda appoint new marketing execs
[Irvine, Calif.] Both Jaguar North America and Mazda North American Operations have announced new marketing officials. Ford Motor Co.-owned Jaguar named Marti Eulberg exec VP-marketing and sales, effective Aug. 1. She moves from VP-sales of sibling Volvo Europe, a position she has held since last August. She succeeds C.J. O'Donnell, who moves to director-marketing strategy for Jaguar U.K. Mazda, controlled by Ford, tapped David Klan, 37, as marketing director, also starting Aug. 1, from general manager-global brand marketing for parent Mazda Motor Corp. in Japan, a post he's held since March 2004.
Insurance and financial services giant AIG has awarded WPP Group's 141 Worldwide the assignment of leveraging its new global sponsorship of the famed English soccer club Manchester United. The four-year, $100 million sponsorship puts the AIG logo on ManU's shirts for every game, home and away. . . . Cemusa, the Spanish company that won New York City's $1 billion street-furniture bid, will take over selling advertising on city bus shelters, newsstands and public toilets effective today. On June 15, the city sent CBS Outdoor a 30-day notice that Cemusa would be taking over sales for the street furniture. CBS, however, chose to hand over the reins early.