NEW YORK-American Express' Consumer Card Group reshuffled its direct marketing agency lineup following management changes that divide responsibilities along new lines. Wunderman Cato Johnson will handle all work for Members of Distinction, a new group of AmEx's biggest-spending, longest-tenured customers that include affluent business travelers and Platinum cardholders. Wunderman also gets AmEx's seniors card and work aimed at new customers. Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston, gets direct mail acquisition of new cardmembers, plus all rewards programs, including Membership Miles (which the agency launched), Optima Rewards and other planned programs. Ogilvy & Mather Direct, at one time AmEx's lead direct marketing agency, is left with student marketing, "take-one" new-cardmember acquisition and services such as extended warranty, baggage and accident insurance. O&M Direct also retains Travelers Cheque and Corporate Card accounts from other AmEx units.
Saatchi may sell off CME KHBB network
LONDON- Saatchi & Saatchi is said to be considering a sale of the CME KHBB network as part of a restructuring under Saatchi Chief Executive Charlie Scott. Executives close to the company said Saatchi was in early discussions with a European suitor interested in that arm of the agency; a Saatchi spokesman refused to comment. Several companies are interested in buying parts of the network, insiders said, something Saatchi is reluctant to do. Late last week, the North American portion of CME KHBB was redubbed Campbell Mithun Esty, its moniker before merging with KHBB in 1992.
Priest complains; Pru yanks ad
NEW YORK-Prudential Securities last week pulled a TV spot from its new $20 million TV campaign after a broker featured in it was accused by an 81-year-old priest of misleading him, making risky investments and then abandoning his account. Broker Jeff Daggett requested the spot be pulled after coverage about the priest's lawsuit, said Ronna Lichtenberg, Prudential's director of marketing. The campaign, from Deutsch/Dworin, is designed to restore trust in the brokerage after a scandal about sale of risky limited partnerships (see AdReview on Page 38). Remaining spots in the campaign will continue.
Italian merchants lash Visa ad
TODI, Italy-Reuters reported Feb. 18 that a group of local businesses banned the use of Visa cards by U.S. tourists in protest over a Visa TV spot airing in the U.S. that it says shows elderly tourists here being "robbed." The spot, created by BBDO Worldwide, New York, for the U.S. market, in fact shows a young couple unwittingly trading their camera for a donkey. Visa couldn't confirm the merchants' action but said the group misinterpreted the "lighthearted" spot (see related story on Page 3).
Golfer Daly heads back to links
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.-Pro golfer John Daly will return to the Professional Golfers' Association Tour earlier than planned following his suspension last November, but sports marketing analysts said he has much to prove before marketers will sign him for endorsements. Companies Mr. Daly now endorses, like Reebok and Wilson, say they will continue to support him, though no new advertising featuring Mr. Daly is planned. Mr. Daly, who was suspended by the PGA after walking off the course in the middle of two tournaments, is slated to play in the Honda Classic here next month.
Wunderli may get boot at Publicitas
LAUSANNE, Switzerland-Reports were circulating late Friday that Urs Wunderli, director of Publicitas Holding, the world's largest media representation company, has been asked to leave the company as of March 1 after more than 20 years. No one could be reached at Publicitas at press time.
Grey profits jump 11.3% in '93
NEW YORK-Grey Advertising reported net income for 1993 rose 11.3% to $17.7 million. For the fourth quarter of 1993, net income was up 15.6% to $5.55 million, vs. the same period a year ago. Grey reported gross billings for 1993 remained flat at $3.8 billion. For the fourth quarter, gross billings slipped 3.6% to $1.06 billion.
Perot group's ad seeks members
DALLAS-Ross Perot's United We Stand citizens group returns to the airwaves today with a two-city test of membership recruitment ads that will be measured for effectiveness against direct mail. A spokeswoman said two 60-second spots will air on network affiliates and an independent station in Indianapolis and St. Louis for up to two weeks. Mr. Perot does not appear in the spots. Creative was by Whitman Productions and time purchased by Media Inc., both New York.
Sullivan FSI business to be shuttered
NEW YORK-Buckling under the weight of intense industry price wars, Sullivan Marketing last week sold its free standing insert business to News America FSI, which will shut it down. Sullivan opened shop in November 1992 and grew to a market share of 10% but has failed to endure heavy price slashing from News America and Valassis Communications.
Goods-for-Guns founder eyes concert
NEW YORK-Goods-for-Guns founder Fernando Mateo plans to organize a rap concert. Tickets to the as-yet unscheduled concert won't be sold and can only be obtained when a person turns in a firearm. Goods-for-Guns netted more than 3,000 firearms during its eight-week run, which ended in mid-January when sponsors' monies and gift certificates ran out.
Commerce Bancshares taps CME
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Commerce Bancshares selected Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, for the bank holding company's $5 million to $7 million integrated marketing account, including advertising, promotion, direct marketing and public relations. Valentine-Radford previously handled.
Precision Tune rides with Bozell
LEESBURG, Va.-Precision Tune named Bozell, Alexandria, for the automotive repair chain's estimated $5 million account. J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, previously handled.
Compaq, Microsoft join for ad
HOUSTON-Compaq and Microsoft are expected to run a joint ad Feb. 23 in The Wall Street Journal promoting "Plug & Play," new computer standards designed to make personal computers, software and peripheral products work together seamlessly. The ad coincides with the opening of a computer show in San Francisco where Microsoft will provide more details about "Chicago," the code name for a new version of the Windows operating system software. Compaq agency Ammirati & Puris, New York, is believed to be working on the ad.
`Spy' out in the cold for good
NEW YORK-Humor magazine Spy folded Friday after an unsuccessful search for a buyer. The 8-year-old monthly was one of the industry's hottest titles in its early days but had cooled off considerably in recent years. Circulation hit an all-time high of 200,000 earlier this year, but Spy was unable to reach agreement with several potential buyers. Investor Jean Pigozzi and adman Charles Saatchi acquired Spy in 1991.
NBC restructures network sales unit
NEW YORK-NBC restructured its network sales division, promoting Gary Wold to VP-daytime and late-night sales from VP-sales director of daytime and late-night sales. He succeeds Ron Dobson, who recently announced his retirement. Perri Stein succeeds Mr. Wold, from account exec for prime-time and news sales. And Marianne Gambelli was promoted to VP-sports sales from director of sports sales. She succeeds Keith Turner, who was recently named VP-Olympic and sports sales.
COMINGS & GOINGS
Thom McKinney, president-ceo of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, will leave April 29 to pursue new opportunities. A search committee has been formed to screen candidates.
Marina Hahn to VP-advertising, Sony Electronics, where she will oversee all U.S. electronic product advertising, from director of advertising, Pepsi-Cola Co. She succeeds Jeff Brooks, who resigned.
, 34, to VP-creative director, an additional post at Kobs & Draft, Chicago, from associate creative director.
W.B. Doner & Co., Southfield, Mich., has landed an estimated $40 million in business in snaring five new accounts since Dec. 9, including two earlier this month. Doner is first agency of record for discount drugstore chain F&M Distributors and PVH Veterinary Hospitals of America, which plans a national expansion. Earlier, it won National Car Rental System, Musicland Stores Corp. and National Tire Warehouse.
House of Seagram to TBWA, New York, from Wells Rich Greene BDDP for its estimated $5 million to $10 million new-products advertising, including Godiva liqueur and Coyote tequila.
Mobil Chemical Co. is expected to name a new agency or announce a review for its $9 million Hefty and Baggies account this week after parting with Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.
Bausch & Lomb eyewear division to the Arnell Group, New York, from Grey Advertising. Arnell had previously handled the Ray-Ban Wayfarer Group and the Bausch & Lomb Allied brands. It now takes over as agency of record for all eyewear division brands. Grey subsidiary Gross Townsend is working on a special project for the division.
Royal Crown Cola hired two promotion agencies. BSB/Dryden & Petisi, Westport, Conn., will create national promotions for RC cola and Diet Rite. JPM Chicago will handle Royal Crown's Kick and Nehi.
Kraft General Foods to Wunderman Cato Johnson, Chicago, as first agency of record for consumer promotions.
New York's Finest Chocolate Co. to the Ad Store, New York, as first agency for its Nutty New Yorker candy bar account.
FOR THE RECORD
Foote, Cone & Belding Communications, Chicago, reported 1993 net income of $25.7 million, up 18.3% on 5.5% higher revenue of $353.3 million. For the fourth quarter, net income was up 18.1% to $12 million as revenue rose 4.6% to $103.4 million. Chairman Bruce Mason said FCB added $510 million in net new business in 1993, capped by its November win of the $90 million in AT&T long-distance services account.
Digital HDTV Grand Alliance, a coalition of electronics and technology companies developing an industry standard for high-definition TV, last week said it would recommend the Federal Communications Commission approve Zenith Electronics Corp.'s technology as the official HDTV standard. The selection was a key win for financially ailing Zenith, the last major U.S.-owned TV set marketer.
Oracle unveiled software to manage interactive TV services (AA, Feb. 14) at a glitzy Hollywood event last week, where President-CEO Larry Ellison predicted most U.S. households will have access to two-way TV by the end of the decade. At the event, former junk bond king Michael Milken said he is investing "hundreds of millions" of his money in interactive TV.
Microsoft is developing software, code-named Tiger, to manage interactive TV services using personal computers for a 10th the cost of technology from Oracle and other interactive contenders.
AT&T and Lotus are working to offer a version of Lotus' Notes communications and database software over AT&T phone lines, according to InfoWorld and analysts. The plan could allow marketers to give consumers easier access to interactive services.
Windows World, a major computer show in Atlanta produced each spring by convention promoter Interface Group under an agreement with Microsoft Corp., is adding shows in Chicago and Dallas.
Bell Atlantic and Tele-Communications Inc. are renegotiating terms of their $12 billion merger after failing to solidify them by a mid-February deadline. New problems include the number of new shares Bell Atlantic will have to issue to acquire TCI's assets and the value of those shares. TCI's cash flow, which will determine the final cost of the merger, has become uncertain due to cable TV rate freezes in many markets. Executives at Bell Atlantic said the deal is still expected to close by yearend.
Coca-Cola Foods on March 14 will begin its most aggressive new-product marketing effort ever, for Minute Maid Naturals shelf-stable juices and juice drinks. Lowe & Partners/SMS created advertising. The marketer later in the month will break a new campaign, also from Lowe, for its Minute Maid Premium Choice chilled juice.
"Homicide: Life on the Street," the critically acclaimed police drama produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana, has been picked up by NBC Entertainment.
ABC, has reportedly offered the Big Eight Conference and the Southwest Conference $60 million for five years to televise their football games. The offer was made after the two leagues started merger talks.
Ellis Communications, Atlanta, has merged with Raycom, a Charlotte, N.C.-based TV syndicator. Bert Ellis, president of Ellis Communications, said Raycom will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ellis and will remain primarily a syndicator of sports programs.
Carat, other media buyers fined: France's Competition Council, a government-appointed independent watchdog, fined six media buyers nearly $9 million for anti-competitive practices, following a four-year investigation. Carat received the biggest fine, $6.4 million. Also hit were Eurocom, now Euro RSCG; Publicis' Optimedia; Lintas' Initiative Media; McCann-Erickson's Publimedia Service; and The Media Partnership France, all Paris.
Skoda opens bidding for $50M-70M account: Volkswagen AG has invited Ayer, Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey Advertising and incumbent GGK/GGT to pitch for the Skoda line's pan-European creative account, estimated at between $50 million and $70 million. Carat handles media buying.
EU to halt P&G acquisition: Procter & Gamble expects the European Union's Cartel Office not to approve P&G's acquisition of German paper company Vereinigte Papierwerke Schickedanz Feb. 22. Competitors in Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. protested that P&G would unfairly control too big a share of the feminine hygiene market. A final decision will be made within four months.
South African shop switch-es loyalties: D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Sandton, is being renamed Sonnenberg, Murphy, Leo Burnett and is switching its non-equity affiliation to Leo Burnett Co. The move coincides with Burnett client Reebok's return to South Africa.
Henkel names DDB Need-ham in China: Henkel Cosmetic, Hong Kong, has named DDB Needham, Beijing, as its first agency to handle Fa toiletries in China. Poly Color hair color will also be assigned at a later date.
IBM pulls plug on Ambra: IBM is halting production of budget personal computer Ambra in Europe a month after moving the $1.5 million account to J. Walter Thompson Co., Manchester, England, from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London. Ambra's mail-order operation in the U.S. and Canada is not affected.
New Indochina affiliations: McCann-Erickson Worldwide is opening in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, through an affiliation with Khmer General Services' subsidiary KGS Advertising. Leo Burnett Co. has signed an affiliation agreement with Vietnam Advertising, Ho Chi Minh City, already the agency for Mitsubishi Motors and Tiger Beer.
Maclean Hunter wants high-er bid: No other bidders have emerged since Maclean Hunter rejected Rogers Communications' $2.25 billion offer for the cable TV and publishing company. Maclean Hunter said the offer was financially inadequate. Rogers, Canada's largest cable TV operator, has said it will not raise its bid.
Austel names Grey: Australia's telecommunications regulator Austel awarded its $18 million national telephone renumbering campaign to Grey Advertising, Melbourne.
U.S. West, Telemedia plan local U.S. directories: Telemedia International, Stockholm, is expected to sign an agreement this month to join U.S. West in offering neighborhood phone directories in the U.S. Telemedia is involved in similar local directory projects in the Netherlands, the Baltic Republics, Finland and Russia.
ACCOUNT ACTION: Renault's new $15 million Spanish Laguna car account to Lintas Spain, Madrid. .*.*. Quelle Schickedanz's new $7 million German catalog account to Young & Rubicam, Frankfurt. .*.*. Peck's Australia's $3 million Old El Paso Mexican packaged foods account to DDB Needham, Sydney, from Harris Robinson. .*.*. Sky TV's $3 million New Zealand creative, strategic and media business to DDB Needham, Auckland, from BSW Young & Rubicam.