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[Dearborn, Mich.] Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division will back its 2005 Ford Focus ST with an estimated $70 million in media this year. National network TV launch spots, from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, broke April 25. The marketer said the goals of the blitz are to re-energize the car's personality and get the word out on its upgrades. The effort includes cable, network radio, outdoor, magazine and internet. A Spanish TV spot by Zubi Advertising, Miami, and two African-American spots by Uniworld Group, New York, also break this month.

Cingular taps Mendoza for $20M U.S. Hispanic account

[Atlanta] Cingular Wireless tapped WPP's MendozaDillon, Irvine, Ca., an estimated $20 million U.S. Hispanic creative account, executives familiar with the situation said. Starcom's Relay Sponsorship and Event Marketing, a Publicis Groupe unit, will handle sales promotion, while Omnicom Group's OMD Latino will handle media buying. Omnicom's Dieste, Harmel & Partners, Dallas, the incumbent, and Publicis-backed Bromley Communications, San Antonio, Texas, also pitched.

Mitsubishi moves media from Deutsch to PHD

[Cypress, Calif.] As expected, troubled automaker Mitsubishi Motors North America, has consolidated U.S. media buying account at Omnicom shops PHD USA and Pentacom Canada, the automaker said April 23. The U.S. media buying account is estimated at $250 million. Mitsubishi's advertising agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, had handled media buying in the U.S., while sibling Initiative handled Canada. Deutsch will continue as Mitsubishi's agency for integrated marketing, media planning, general advertising, interactive, online advertising, direct marketing and customer and data strategy. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap56u

Talks continue over `Life'; launch expected in fall

[New York] Time Inc.'s newspaper supplement Life remains in active discussions with Tribune Co., Knight Ridder, McClatchy Co. and Mort Zuckerman's New York Daily News, said executives involved in the discussions. Talks were also held with Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register, but these are unlikely to bear fruit. The project is currently expected to have a fall `04 launch with a target circulation of 12 million. One marketing tagline being discussed internally, insiders said: "Enjoy your weekend. Enjoy Life." A Time Inc. spokesman would only say the project is in active development. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap57e

NBA breaks first effort from Mother

[New York] The National Basketball Association this week breaks the first of a two-part campaign promoting the NBA Finals, the first work from the New York office of red-hot British shop Mother. The commercials focus on the Lawrence O'Brien championship trophy, including one with NBA legend Larry Bird and current superstar Shaquille O'Neal. Mr. O'Neal plays what appears to be suitor to Mr. Bird's protective father, and is shown saying that he will "treat her with nothing but respect" and that he loves her. Other spots feature New Jersey Nets star Jason Kidd, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and former NBA star Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

Ford, AOL Latino create hub for entrepreneurs

[New York] Ford Motor Co. and AOL Latino will announce this week a deal to create an interactive hub to provide resources to Hispanic entrepreneurs, utilizing content from Time Warner publications, according to executives close to the situation. Ford and AOL are working closely with the carmaker's U.S. Hispanic agency, independent Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, Fla.

Interpublic, Omnicom release exec salaries

[New York] Interpublic Group of Cos. released its proxy statement, revealing the salaries of its top executives. Chairman-CEO David Bell earned $1 million in basic salary and gained a $1.3 million bonus, or 78% of what the compensation committee called his target for fulfilling goals such as improving the balance sheet and performance. He also received $76,000 in other compensation and 200,000 stock options. Though Interpublic had a net loss of $452 million on weak revenues of $5.9 billion, Mr. Bell has been credited for bringing the advertising agency holding company back from the brink. Separately, Omnicom Group president-CEO John Wren got a raise in 2003, but none of the company's top executives were awarded stock options and all got smaller bonuses, according to the proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the proxy, Mr. Wren got his first salary raise in six years, to $1 million a year, from $875,000 and he received a $1.1 million bonus. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap56y

CNET launches indie music download site

[San Francisco] Interactive content portal CNET Networks introduced a service for downloading music by independent artists for free. Advertising will provide the revenue. The target audience is 10-to-24 year olds, more than half of whom download music, according to comScore Media Metrix. CNET's strategy is to expand its advertising base to music and technology marketers that will appeal to this group. Some 100,000 unsigned musicians have signed up for an e-mail newsletter about the service

Negrete chosen as president-elect of AHAA

[Miami] Alex Lopez Negrete, president-CEO of independent U.S. Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete Communications, Houston, was chosen as president elect of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies at the group's semi-annual conference last week in Miami. At the meeting, Manuel Machado, CEO of independent shop Machado/Garcia-Serra Publicidad, Coral Gables, Fla., took office as AHAA's president until April 2005.

FYI ...

The New York State Supreme Court refused to grant city Comptroller William Thompson an injunction to stop a $126 million marketing deal with Cadbury-Schweppes, which would make Snapple the city's official beverage and sole vendor in city buildings. ... Timberland Company tapped Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, to handle creative responsibilities for its advertising account. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap56x ... Sears, Roebuck & Co., and Miller Brewing have signed on as the first presenting sponsors for ESPN Shorts, a series of 90-second commercials that will tell a continuing story over a two-month period on the Walt Disney Co. sports network.

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