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[Milwaukee] SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. quietly tapped Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, to handle Pilsner Urquell, which it plans to make into a worldwide priority brand. "The Original Pilsner" TV breaks in Boston and Chicago this week. Ogilvy currently is handling Miller Genuine Draft, which was yanked last week, as expected, from sibling J. Walter Thompson Co. (AdAge.com, March 12). Ogilvy, Y&R Advertising, Chicago, and independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., are pitching a major Miller branding campaign. Two unnamed boutique agencies also are in the hunt. One of those is said to be Louisville, Ky.-independent Doe-Anderson, with the other based in the U.K. The agencies could not be reached for comment. Separately, Miller awarded the Foster's Lager $10 million account to independent Wieden & Kennedy.

Four remain in hunt for big Six Flags account

[oklahoma city] Theme park operator Six Flags picked four shops as finalists in the review for its $90 million to $100 million creative, media planning and media buying assignment: Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles; Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis; independent Doner, Southfield, Mich.; and the incumbent, independent Ackerman McQueen, Oklahoma City. Out of the review: independent Richards Group, Dallas; Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago; and WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York.

Four indie agencies to pitch Sprite ideas

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co., seeking input from shops skilled in marketing to youth, said it asked four independent ad agencies to pitch ideas for its $43 million Sprite account: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; Modernista, Boston; WongDoody, Seattle; and DiNoto, New York. Coca-Cola said WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, would remain Sprite's agency of record. A Coke spokesman said it has not finalized the list of agencies that will submit ideas. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao85u

Retailers, media skeptical of Kraft spending increase

[new york] Agencies, vendors and retailers reacted with surprise to Kraft Foods' disclosure last week that it would boost marketing spending by $200 million in the four months beginning in September. The larger marketing outlay, said to be for both promotional spending and advertising, was outlined to analysts last week by Kraft Foods executives as they lowered their outlook for full-year earnings due to the soft economy and private-label gains in categories such as cheese and biscuits. Executives at media outlets that do business with Kraft, including a leading publishing house, said they have seen nothing to indicate that tighter budgets at Kraft are loosening.

Galotti exits Conde Nast; Hunsinger to `GQ' post

[new york] Ron Galotti, publisher of Conde Nast Publications' GQ magazine, left the company July 17 and was succeeded by Peter King Hunsinger, president of Conde Nast Bridal Group. Nina Lawrence was named president of Conde Nast Bridal Group and will continue as publisher of Bride's and Modern Bride, the unit's flagship titles. Mr. Galotti had returned to Conde Nast in March 2002 after leaving the publisher in 1999 to be president of the now shuttered Talk magazine. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao85w

Meijers breaks new DeVito/Verdi work

[grand rapids, mich.] Discount chain Meijer, under pressure as Wal-Mart Supercenters move into its Midwestern turf, this week breaks its first campaign from its new agency, independent DeVito/Verdi, New York, hired in April following a review for its estimated $40 million account. Tagged "We get high marks for low prices," TV and radio spots emphasize how children don't treat school supplies well, so parents should try to save on them.

NFL promo season opens on CBS with four ads

[new york] Viacom's CBS breaks its promo campaign for its telecasts of the 2003 NFL season this week with four TV spots created by CBS's in-house team. The commercials feature real-life fans of the New York Jets, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns who have become unofficial ambassadors of their teams. Spending was not disclosed. Narration is by hip-hop superstar Ja Rule, who will deliver the tagline: "Getting Ready for the NFL Season? So Are We."

Dollar crunch said to put `Penthouse' on brink

[New York] A looming financial crunch threatens to shutter General Media International's Penthouse, Newsweek's online edition reported July 18. A Penthouse spokeswoman denied in the report that the magazine had cash-flow problems, but the newsweekly said it had been told by Penthouse employees that they received only 25% of their normal pay on July 18. Newsweek also reported that a real estate lender, Kennedy Funding, planned to foreclose on Penthouse founder Bob Guccione's Manhattan mansion as early as July 22 to collect a debt of around $15 million. Calls to several Penthouse executives and to Kennedy Funding were not returned by press time.

McCann HumanCare unit to lead health marketing

[new york] Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide formed a new unit, McCann HumanCare, to handle pharmaceutical and healthcare clients. Managing director for McCann HumanCare will be Andrew Schirmer, 40, who joins McCann Aug. 4 from Omnicom Group's Merkely Newman Harty Healthworks, where he was president-executive creative director.

FYI . . .

National Basketball Association superstar Kobe Bryant, who endorses marketers Nike, Coca-Cola Co. and McDonald's Corp., was formally charged with felony sexual assault on July 18. Coca-Cola and McDonald's could not be reached for comment. Nike said in a statement that it is "pleased to have a relationship" with Mr. Bryant. ... Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, agency of record for Polaroid since 2000, said it declined an invitation from the marketer to participate in its current review. "We believe our work, and the results that work has produced in the marketplace, speaks for itself," said the agency in a press release. Polaroid declined to comment on its agency relationships. ... Walt Disney Co. is seeking an ad agency for its new Hong Kong Disneyland, scheduled to open in 2005-2006. Leo Burnett Worldwide, Chicago, Disney's agency for eight of its 10 other parks, is being invited to pitch, according to executives. A Disney spokeswoman had no comment. ... Fortune Brands will test concepts from three agencies after meeting with five finalists last week in its review for the $19 million Jim Beam Brands portfolio. The incumbent agency, WPP's Y&R Advertising, Chicago, will not advance in the review, the agency confirmed. Agencies continuing in the process are Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and Element 79 Partners, both Chicago; and Interpublic's Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis. The other finalist was Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis. ... Dennis Publishing said it will publish a second issue of Maxim Goes to the Movies in October. Dennis said the first issue, published as a test earlier this year, had newsstand sell-through of more than 60%. Film magazines generally have sell-through rates of about 30%. The second edition will have a newsstand distribution of 400,000 copies. ... Havas' Media Planning Group, New York, will take control of First Source Yellow Pages, Boston, from Havas sibling shop Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and rename it MPG Yellow Pages. Patty Mead, First Source managing director, continues in her position with MPG.

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