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Ad groups extend talent union contract

[new york] The ad industry and commercial talent unions have agreed to a two-year extension on their current contract, which will now run through Oct. 2008. The extension, which still must be ratified by the unions' boards and membership, is aimed at giving the groups enough time to complete a compensation study. That study, by a yet-to-be-named consultant, will address the sticky issue of how talent will be compensated for ads that appear across various digital media, including cellphones and future to-be-determined platforms. The groups-the ad industry's Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists-also agreed that actors will receive a 6% increase in basic compensation.

AOL to lay off 5,000 employees

[new york] AOL last week announced plans to cut its global work force by as much as 25%, dropping some 5,000 employees within six months. The news came one day after Time Warner confirmed that it will stop charging subscriber fees to AOL broadband users, and cease marketing the unit's dial-up service. AOL's European access business and customer-service division are likely to bear the brunt of the layoffs.

Heineken USA contacts shops for $130M review

[white plains, n.y.] Heineken USA, which last month launched a review intended to consolidate creative duties on its $130 million creative accounts for Heineken and Heineken Premium Light beers, has begun to contact shops. The brewer, which had already invited incumbents Publicis USA and WPP Group's Berlin Cameron to pitch, also sent requests for information to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, M&C Saatchi, WPP's JWT and Margeotes Fertitta & Powell, among others. People familiar with the matter said the import brewer is looking for a shop with experience on high-end brands, and that the review could take as long as five months to complete.

Lee Jeans unveils first work from Arnold

[merriam, kan.] Lee Jeans this month will attempt to remake itself as a stylish jeans brand with a fit for everyone in its first advertising under Arnold, New York. The VF Corp. brand's "Get What Fits" campaign breaks with print in August publications, TV on Aug. 14 and Internet and radio ads beginning Aug. 21. Lee spent $15 million in measured media in 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Burger King testing 'Hold 'em' products

[miami] Burger King Corp. is conducting operations tests for a portable product called "Hold 'ems," including a breakfast version with egg, meat and cheese. J.P. Morgan analyst John Ivankoe said the product is planned for a late-fiscal-2007 rollout.

Naked taps Davies as New York partner

[new york] Naked Communications has named a third partner in its 8-month-old New York office, tapping Neal Davies, who led the Absolut Vodka account at TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York. Mr. Davies joins Paul Woolmington and M.T. Carney in the U.S. beachhead of the communications-strategy firm that has forced great change in the U.K. and other markets. Here in the U.S., Naked is working with Coca-Cola Co. and Nokia, among other marketers.

BBDO's Broder shifts to Wal-Mart position

[bentonville, ark.] Hugh Broder joins Wal-Mart's marketing department this month in the new post of senior director-integrated production, a spokeswoman said. He'll report to Sean Wolmack, VP-communications architecture. He had been director-broadcast production at Omnicom Group's BBDO Detroit, Troy, Mich., but was part of a recent staff cutback. He follows his former Chrysler Group client, Julie Roehm.

Mini online campaign teases big-car owners

[woodcliff lake, n.j.] BMW's Mini USA unit pokes fun at big car owners in an outdoor and online ad blitz themed "We feel your pain." After clicking on banner ads, owners of gas-guzzlers are treated to online videos offering tongue-in-cheek activities for them to pass the time as they wait to fill their gas tanks. Separately, the brand kicked off a six-month "covert campaign" in magazines, in which owners can see hidden messages using gadgets mailed to all 150,000-plus of them. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif., handled.

FYI ...

Clear Channel Outdoor is launching its third electronic-billboard network in Albuquerque, N.M. , joining existing networks in Cleveland and Las Vegas. ... David Blum, 37, to executive director, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners' interactive unit, from managing director of web development practice, Avenue A/ Razorfish, Seattle.
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