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[New York] Samsung Group was said to be conducting an informal global review of its estimated $400 million creative and media business, according to executives close to the matter. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide and Initiative Media are Samsung's U.S. agencies. A spokeswoman for Samsung said there was "no truth" to review "rumors" and that there are "no plans to change" agencies. FCB also denied there was a review; Initiative declined to comment. Samsung spends about $100 million a year on U.S. advertising. Executives familiar with the situation said what began as a regional review of Samsung advertising in Korea expanded to include worldwide operations and that Samsung executives in Seoul have met with its incumbent shops and unnamed other agencies with a view toward possible global consolidation of its accounts.

Reebok opens campaign for NFL Equipment line

[New York] Reebok International this week breaks the first in a series of national TV ads supporting its NFL Equipment line. Spending was not disclosed. The opening commercial, from Omnicom Group's Arnell Group, New York, features Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis working out in the Rebook performance wear. The NFL Equipment line is part of an exclusive contract Reebok signed with the National Football League in 2001.

Taco Bell puts in review 33 field mktg. accounts

[IRVINE, CALIF.] Taco Bell Corp. is launching reviews for 33 of its more than 200 field marketing accounts after Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, San Francisco, resigned the duties to concentrate on 26 of the largest West Coast operations, said a spokeswoman for the Yum Brands chain. FCB also will retain media buying and planning for Taco Bell's Northeast region. The regional billings portion of the $200 million account was not disclosed.

Shakeup looming at Miller Brewing

[Milwaukee] Employees at SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. and its agencies are bracing for a reorganization, according to several people close to the brewer. SABMiller plans to "upgrade its marketing department," said one person. The shakeup, which may include layoffs, could come as soon as July 1-though a reorganization has been predicted before. It's uncertain how Miller's agencies might be affected. They include Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., as well as WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and J. Walter Thompson. A Miller spokesman did not return calls.

Gap's Old Navy unit reviews Hispanic shops

[San Francisco] Gap Inc.'s Old Navy is searching for an Hispanic agency to develop its first Hispanic-targeted campaign, a TV effort termed a "project" that's expected for holiday 2003 or spring 2004, a company spokeswoman said. The review, involves a small number of agencies, including Vidal Partnership, New York, Omnicom-backed Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, and Lapiz Advertising, Chicago, the Hispanic arm of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, the spokeswoman said. Spending was not disclosed.

Zenith raises outlook for U.S. ad spending

(London] Zenith Optimedia revised upward its U.S. ad spending forecast for 2003, to 2.7% growth, but held its estimate for global ad growth unchanged at 2.9%. Last December, it forecast U.S. growth of 1.9% (updated in April to 2.2%). Outside the U.S., Zenith cut its forecast for Europe to 1.7% growth (a 0.5% decline after inflation) for 2003 from its December forecast of 2.5%. It left unchanged its 4.1% forecast for ad growth in Asia. (See related story on P. 27.)

WPP buys Cordiant debt; investor could block sale

[London] WPP Group bought Cordiant Communications Group's remaining debt from investment firm Cerberus Capital Management for $151 million plus $18 million in interest and "certain other payments." WPP becomes Cordiant's sole creditor and moves closer to acquiring the troubled agency holding company.Cordiant's largest shareholder, investment firm Active Value, last week raised its equity stake to 26.2%, giving it more than the 25% needed to block a deal. Cordiant could face bankruptcy if WPP and Active Value are not able to come to terms.

Aquafina, AOL partner for big summer promo

[Purchase, N.Y.] Pepsi-Cola North America launches a major summer promotion for Aquafina bottled water July 1 in partnership with AOL Time Warner properties. The deal, arranged through AOL Time Warner's Global Marketing Solutions Group, includes TV ads on the WB network (some including cast members from WB's "Gilmore Girls") plus other on-air promotion on AOL cable networks, print ads in Time Inc. magazines and online marketing on America Online. Spending was not disclosed. The "Aquafina Pure Luck" promotion promises 40,000 cash prizes to consumers spotted with Aquafina or Aquafina Essentials. Omnicom's Element 79 Partners, Chicago, handles Aquafina.

FYI . . .

Coors Brewing Co. said it is looking for a marketing VP to oversee brands including Killian's Irish Red, Zima and Keystone and succeed VP-Marketing Laura Sankey, now VP-Coors U.S. strategy. ... Online job site Monster said it will choose by mid-July an agency for its estimated $100 million-plus global account. Finalists include Interpublic's Deutsch, Omnicom's DDB Worldwide and Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi, all New York, according to executives close to the situation. Monster declined to comment... Doner, Southfield, Mich., hired James Ward, 34, from Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, where he led retailer Kohl's business as senior VP-group director. At Doner, Mr. Ward, who also has experience on McCann's Coca-Cola Co. client, will be exec VP-group account director. At McCann, exec VP-group managing director Mark Denesuk will assume Mr. Ward's responsibilities on Kohl's. ... Torre Lazur Communications CEO Michael MacLeod left the unit of Interpublic's Torre Lazur-McCann Healthcare Worldwide, Parsippany, N.J. McCann said his post was eliminated and his duties are being assumed by Torre Lazur Communications President Joe Laborsky. ... Carpet One, Manchester, N.H., narrowed the review for its public relations account to Interpublic's Carmichael Lynch Spong and Weber Shandwick, both Minneapolis, and Patrice Tanaka & Co., New York. Spending was not disclosed. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., is the consultant.

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