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[New York] As of Dec. 12, those familiar with the bidding expected Primedia's New York magazine to go to a consortium headed by New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman. Final bids were due Dec. 11, and other bidders were American Media and Curtco Robb Media. Bids were in the $50 million range. The deal could be done early this week. Mr. Zuckerman's consortium includes Miramax Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, financiers Nelson Peltz and Jeffrey Epstein, Deutsch CEO Donny Deutsch, Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan, as well a noncash participant New York columnist Michael Wolff, and the Learning Annex, the role of which is still being worked out. Spokesmen for Primedia and Mr. Zuckerman declined to comment; spokesmen for American Media and Curtco confirmed bids.

Unilever cuts 175 jobs; moves marketing center

[Greenwich, Conn.] Unilever is laying off 175 people in its U.S. Home and Personal Care division and closing its Greenwich, Conn., administrative and marketing office, consolidating the facility with its Trumbull, Conn., technical center. A spokeswoman said decisions on which individuals will be affected have yet to be made, but said, given the numbers involved, it appears likely the layoffs will include some marketing executives now stationed in Greenwich and Chicago. The cuts are to be completed by early February.

Hearst christens planned magazine `Shop Etc.'

[New York] Hearst Magazines will launch Shop Etc. with a September 2004 issue, said an executive. It was described as a more "sophisticated," broader and presumably older-skewing take on the shopping-magazine motif popularized by Conde Nast Publications' Lucky. Shop Etc. will focus on fashion, beauty and home. Hearst plans three issues next year and 10-times-yearly frequency in 2005. A Hearst spokeswoman confirmed the details on Shop Etc.'s title and said it would "be different from any other title on the market." Read more at AdAge.com QwikFIND aap22x

`WSJ' considers Spanish-language version

[New York] The Wall Street Journal is considering a Spanish-language publication for the U.S. Hispanic market. The most likely model is the 10-year-old Wall Street Journal Americas, which circulates to 1.7 million readers in Latin America as a daily Spanish-language insert in leading newspapers in 16 countries. Bill Casey, VP-special editions, said, "It's certainly a market that interests us."

Two more join hunt for Masterfoods biz

[Hackettstown, N.J.] Two new contestants are pursuing the $300 million Masterfoods USA media planning and buying account, said executives close to the review. Aegis Group's Carat, New York, and Omnicom Group's PHD, rather than its OMD unit, are competing along with Masterfoods roster shops MediaCom, New York, a unit of Grey Global Group, and WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, and Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group. The agencies declined comment. Masterfoods did not return calls.

Papa John's names fast-food vet CMO

[Louisville, Ky.] Papa John's International named former Burger King and Hardee's marketing exec Gary L. Langstaff to be chief marketing officer in charge of Papa John's creative and brand marketing, field marketing and strategic planning and analysis. He had been a principal with brand consultant 1919 for the past 13 years. Omnicom Group's Zimmerman Partners, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., handles Papa John's.

Black & Decker keeps creative at McCann

[Towson, Md.] Black & Decker, after a review, kept Interpublic's McCann Erickson Worldwide, New York, as the creative agency for its estimated $15 million power-tools account, a spokesman for McCann said. Baltimore independent Outloud competed for the assignment. A winner of the media buying and planning account was still to be picked. Interpublic's Universal McCann, New York, the incumbent, is defending against Aegis' Carat USA, said executives close to the review.

Broker Edward Jones reopens $30 mil review

[St. Louis] Brokerage Edward Jones re-opened the pitch for its estimated $30 million ad account. The move was expected. Agencies seeking the business, said executives close to the situation, include independents Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, and Richards Group, Dallas, plus Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago. Westport Consulting, Danbury, Conn., is the review consultant. Edward Jones did not return calls.

P&G tests value pricing with Basic by Bounty

[Cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. is testing in stores Basic by Bounty, a new value paper towel brand, with the selling line "practical not pricey," a spokeswoman said. It's the latest of several mid-tier and entry-level-price initiatives for P&G as it increasingly looks at targeting lower-income consumers in developed as well as emerging markets. Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide, New York, handles P&G tissue-towel brands.

AOL narrows $60M interactive review

[New York] Time Warner's America Online said finalists for its $55 million-to-$60 million interactive creative and media account are: Omnicom's AtmosphereBBDO, New York, the incumbent creative shop, partnering with Omnicom media agency OMD, New York; independent Digitas, New York, which handles loyalty and retention work for AOL; and Modem Media, Norwalk, Conn., part-owned by Interpublic. Doner Direct, Southfield, Mich., which had been handling interactive media buying and planning for AOL, declined to participate in the review. Read more at AdAge.com QwikFIND aap22r

FYI . . .

At least three agencies are dropping out of the pitch for the California Lottery's four-year, $100 million advertising account, agency executives said: WPP's J. Walter Thompson and Y&R Advertising and Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, all San Francisco. Eight others, including the current lottery shop, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles, are still eligible and must file bids by 3 p.m. Dec. 15. ... The Federal Trade Commission is stepping up its research into kids' food advertising issues in the wake of public concern over childhood obesity, Chairman Timothy Muris said. "In the coming months [we] will become more involved with it," he added, but said the commission would not repeat a troubled 1970s effort to use industrywide regulation to curb or prohibit advertising to kids. ... Johnson & Johnson will consolidate media planning for all its brands handled by Interpublic Group of Cos. agencies at Universal McCann by March 2004, said executives familiar with the matter. A J&J spokesman declined to comment. J&J previously said it would transfer planning and buying duties for its McNeil Consumer and Specialty Pharmaceutical Division to Universal McCann. Universal McCann declined to comment. Spending was not disclosed. ... Time Warner's TBS Superstation assigned advertising to Publicis Groupe's Publicis Worldwide and independent agency Cliff Freeman & Partners, both New York, after a review. The cable TV network, which is adding reruns of TV hits "Sex & The City" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," is planning a June 2004 relaunch. See AdAge.com QwikFINDaap22s ... Agencies pitching the $300-million offline media account of Time Warner's America Online will present Dec. 17-18 at AOL headquarters in Dulles, Va. Finalists are: Interpublic's Initiative Worldwide, the incumbent; Publicis' Starcom MediaVest; WPP's Mediaedge:CIA; Aegis's Carat; and Omnicom's OMD, all New York; plus London-based Zenith Optimedia Group. ... Regis Philbin and Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio appeared in a TV ad for General Motors Corp.'s Hummer that broke Dec. 14, one of two new ads from Hummer agency Modernista, Boston. ... Nike signed tennis star and former Puma endorser Serena Williams to a five-year deal estimated at $40 million.

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