Zurich Financial taps Publicis for global account
[London] Zurich Financial, one of the world's leading insurance companies, has appointed Publicis Groupe to handle its marketing and communications activities worldwide. Publicis Worldwide will be responsible for the $150 million ad account and ZenithOptimedia will plan and buy media. Other Publicis agencies will work on other marketing services, including direct marketing, media and investor relationships, as well as events planning and sponsorship. Zurich previously used different agencies on a local basis.
CBS takes tops in sweeps; NBC still king of 18-49
[New York] Nielsen Media Research released its annual prime-time rankings for 2003-2004, with NBC taking top honors in the coveted 18-49 category. The General Electric Co.-owned network brought in an average rating of 4.2 or 5.5 million households, with News Corp.'s Fox coming close behind with a 4.1 rating or 5.2 million households, thanks to shows such as "American Idol." NBC, however, showed a decline when compared with the previous season, where it registered a 4.5 share or 5.7 million households. In total households, Viacom's CBS took top honors with an 8.4 rating or 9.1 million households, up from an 8.3 rating or 8.8 million households in 2002-2003.
Toyota, Nike ink deals with NBC's `Contender'
[New York] Toyota Motor Corp. and Nike are close to major deals with Mark Burnett's new reality show, "The Contender," priced at an estimated at $8 million to $10 million per episode, TelevisionWeek reports today. The NBC show, which makes its debut in January 2005, is aiming to pull in three or four major advertisers who will buy two to three spots in each show of its 16-episode run. Other categories pitched include telecommunications and pharmaceutical companies. Conrad Riggs, Mr. Burnett's manager, said, "We're not ready to discuss any deals" but said the show was close to formalizing agreements.
Miller suit against A-B takes beer battle to court
[Milwaukee] Miller Brewing Co. on May 26 sued rival Anheuser-Busch for allegedly undertaking a variety of "false, unfair and illegal" marketing tactics. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Wisconsin, included a claim that A-B agents or distributors defaced Miller beer products in stores. Miller also charged that A-B ads claiming Miller Lite was "the Queen of Carbs" and owned by "South African Breweries" were factually inaccurate. Miller, a unit of London-based SABMiller (previously known as South African Breweries) was seeking an injunction against the alleged practices. The court heard arguments on May 28 but a ruling wasn't reached by press time. A-B denied any wrongdoing. See AdAge.com QwikFIND aap67x
J.D. Power data flawed; `03-'04 figures to change
[West Lake Village, Calif.] J.D. Power and Associates 2003 and 2004 Car and truck Media Reports, dubbed by experts the "bible" of auto industry planners and publishers and used to make major magazine buys, have flawed data. Power admitted the vehicle sales' "weighted counts" errors in a May 25 letter to subscribers, of which Ad Age obtained a copy. Power said its data supplier changed methodology a month after the `04 reports came out so it will redo both years for better accuracy and two-year comparisons. It also confirmed Time Inc.'s market research unit alerted it to the flaws.
Grey's Meyer extends contract through 2005
[New York] Ed Meyer, chairman-president-CEO of Grey Global Group, extended his contract by a year, taking it through Dec. 31, 2005, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Mr. Meyer, 77, joined Grey in 1956 and has been CEO since 1971. The extension was shorter than previous contract renewals; his last extension was for two years (through Dec. 31, 2004), and Grey earlier gave him two seven-year extensions. Mr. Meyer owns 13% of Grey's common stock and 58.7% of Class B stock, and shares he votes give him the power to elect all board members.
Advertising Week cancels key award presentation
[New York] Advertising Week's awards event, dubbed the "Emmys of Advertising," has been canceled, according to a press announcement by the National Television Academy issued May 28. The event was to have taken place on September 22, but did not attract sufficient entries. The awards, which were intended to honor the best of advertising across each discipline, attracted many submissions for TV, but not enough in other categories such as radio, magazine, newspapers, outdoor and the Internet. A spokesman for the academy declined to reveal the number of entries received.
GMC changes approach in new raft of TV spots
[Detroit] Truck and sport-utility marketer GMC breaks a trio of new :30 TV spots on national broadcast and cable networks June 1. The General Motors Corp. brand switches from individual-model ads to multi-model "family lines" in the ads from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe & Partners, New York, to show the breadth of its offerings. GMC said its 2004 ad budget is up from 2003, when it spent $173 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Hispanic versions by Accentmarketing, will follow soon, with nine general-market magazine ads in June titles.
Leslie Dance, 48, to VP-director of marketing and communications for Motorola's Mobile Business, a new position, from chief marketing officer, Europe, Middle East and Africa. She will report to Geoffrey Frost, chief brand officer. ... Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar has tapped Starlink Worldwide, a unit of Chicago-based Starcom Mediavest Group, as media planning and buying agency of record. The assignment, which focuses on business-to-business activity, includes strategy and investment for Cat's U.S., Canada and Latin America operations. ... The Senate Commerce Committee set a hearing on June 2 to consider nominations, including those of Deborah Majoras and Jon Leibowitz as FTC commissioners.