Circuit City conducts promotions, PR review
[Richmond, Va.] Circuit City Stores, in a sales slump which has resulted in 19 superstore closings, is conducting a review for a promotions agency and a public relations agency, a company spokesman said. However, he said the electronics retailer is "happy" with general agency, Foote Cone & Belding. Finalists in the public relations review are independents Carter Ryley Thomas, Richmond, Va, and Stanton Crenshaw Communications, New York, and Omnicom Group's Fleishman-Hillard and WPP Group's Ogilvy PR Worldwide, both Washington, D.C. Circuit City earlier this month hired Sharp Partners, New York, to handle interactive advertising, replacing incumbent FCBi. Circuit City spokesman Bill Cimino said he is looking for a public relations agency to help the retailer's in-house operation with strategy and with lining up vendors for business opportunities.
Wenner launches Deutsch TV effort for `Us Weekly'
[New York] Wenner Media is launching its first-ever national TV ad campaign to boost newsstand sales of celebrity book Us Weekly, the company said Feb. 13. Wenner worked with Interpublic's Deutsch, New York, to come up with a humorous 15-second spot. Deutsch also came up with a new corporate tagline, "Read Us, Talk Us, Trust Us." Wenner Media's current ad agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, partly owned by Publicis, declined the project. The campaign kicks off on national cable on Feb. 19 and will run for the first quarter.
Final pitches made for Glaxo, Roche's Boniva
[Detroit] Pharmaceutical companies Roche and GlaxoSmithKline are expected to select an agency this week for their co-marketed osteoporosis drug Boniva, executives close to the review said. Interpublic's McCann HumanCare, WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi Consumer HealthCare and Havas' Euro RSCG Life Becker, all New York, are competing for the account. Billings are not known. All four agencies made final pitches on Feb. 12 and 13, executives said. A daily dose of Boniva was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration. The product has not yet launched. Roche could not be reached at press time.
Athletes try hand at new sports in Nike spots
[Beaverton, Ore.] Nike this week breaks a new campaign for the NBA playoffs featuring a host of its star athletes switching roles into new sports. Lance Armstrong plays a boxer, Marion Jones becomes a gymnast, Randy Johnson is a professional bowler and Andre Agassi becomes a short stop for the Boston Red Sox. Independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., is the agency. Nike could not be reached for comment.
Kmart challenges its Martha Stewart contract
[Chicago] Kmart Holding Corp. confirmed that, as part of its earlier bankruptcy court filing, it is challenging the licensing fees it pays and the amount of ads it has to run in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia publications. Kmart said in a statement that it had been unsuccessful in resolving the dispute. Martha Stewart Living, meanwhile, said Kmart wants to cut its obligation for the year that ended Jan. 31 by $4.5 million to $47.5 million and to cut annual ad spending in Martha Stewart books by $1 million to $2 million a year.
Trial for Ogilvy's Seifert, Early set for Sept. 7
[New York] The trials of two former Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide executives charged with defrauding the federal government has been set to begin Sept. 7. Shona Seifert and Thomas Early have pleaded not guilty to overbilling the government for advertising services for the White House anti-drug office. Ms. Seifert's lawyer initially said he was reluctant to set a date because he did not know if that would give them sufficient time to digest the 80 boxes of evidence. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap38b
McCann, Wieden decide to exit $35M Nokia review
[San Francisco] Two of the four agencies in the pitch for cellphone marketer Nokia's estimated $35 million creative account have dropped out, executives at the two shops said. Both Interpublic's McCann-Erickson, Troy, Mich., and independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., have pulled out, leaving two shops remaining, Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York, and Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, Chicago and Dallas. A Nokia spokesman and other company executives did not return phone calls by deadline. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap38h
Frito-Lay launches pretzel; Gordon to Lay's effort
[Plano, Texas] Frito-Lay later this month launches new Rold Gold Heartzels Pretzels, heart-in-heart shaped pretzels that are the first to meet the American Heart Association's "Heart-check mark" guidelines. The new Heartzels contain no saturated fat, no cholesterol and less sodium than regular pretzels and are a good source of fiber and iron. Frito-Lay will sample the new product at AHA Heart Walks around the country. Meanwhile, as part of Lay's relaunch effort, Frito has shifted its Nascar partnership with driver Jeff Gordon from its Fritos brand to a new Lay's Racing team. Point-of-sale materials and print ads in Nascar Scene and TV Guide, from Omnicom's BBDO, New York, support.
Fidelity Investments has retained Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, to handle its $90 million advertising campaign after a review. Arnold was up against sibling McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C. and Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day and BBDO Worldwide, both New York. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap38i ... Interpublic's Lowe, New York, has laid off 30 staffers following the departure of client Verizon Wireless. A spokeswoman confirmed that employees have been fired but would not comment on the number. ... Ann Taylor Stores Corp. is searching for an agency to handle its advertising account, according to one executive who has been approached. Creative as well as media has been handled in-house. An Ann Taylor representative confirmed the retailer is meeting with agencies but would say only that no decision has been made. The women's clothier last year spent $5 million on measured media.