JWT WINS $26 MIL IN UNILEVER AD WORK

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[london] Unilever has dropped Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide from its laundry cleaning products advertising roster outside North America. J. Walter Thompson Co. picked up the $26 million assignment. Unilever said the move was made to "derive increased benefits of focus and scale, and to maximize the value derived from current centers of expertise." O&M's international work in other Lever categories is unaffected. The international move, involving creative only, does not affect the U.S., where O&M continues to handle Surf.

SRI gains support for Smart TV viewer audit

[westfield, n.j.] Statistical Research Inc. has received letters of intent from the major broadcast networks and six major media shops saying they will support a national rollout of Smart, SRI's TV audience measurement system that is a potential competitor to Nielsen Media Research. The letters are from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox Broadcasting Co., BBDO Worldwide, Grey Media/ MediaCom (a unit of Grey Advertising), Optimum Media (a division of DDB Needham Worldwide), Starcom Media Services (a division of Leo Burnett Co.), TeleVest and TN Media, according to Gale Metzger, SRI president. Executives close to the situation said Procter & Gamble Co., GM Mediaworks and some cable networks are also expected to sign letters.

DDB Needham wins $40 mil Polo account

[new york] Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. has awarded its $30 million to $40 million international media planning and buying and U.S. regional planning and buying to DDB Needham Worldwide and its Omnicom Group sister media units. DDB Needham will work with Optimum Media in the U.S. and Optimum Media Directions internationally. Carlson & Partners retains creative and will place national media.

Downing moving to `L.A. Times' post

[los angeles] Kathryn M. Downing will join the Los Angeles Times as president-CEO Aug. 1. She had been president-CEO, Mosby Matthew Bender. She succeeds Donald F. Wright, now corporate exec VP.

Foot Locker consolidates 3 accounts at Deutsch

[new york] Foot Locker has consolidated its flagship Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker accounts at Deutsch. Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners had handled the $10 million Lady Foot Locker business, while the $3 million Kids Foot Locker business was unassigned. Deutsch already handled the $20 million Foot Locker account.

FDA's DTC drug ad regulations in question

[new york] A ruling in U.S. District Court in Washington may challenge the Food & Drug Administration's authority to regulate direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising, according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies. In a memo to members, Four A's said the decision "calls into question the FDA's overall power to control advertising" from drug companies, and "if sustained, the ruling shifts the legal burden from pharmaceutical companies to the FDA for marketing questions."

Bates, Zenith respond to Miller lawsuit

[milwaukee] Responding to a $6.9 million lawsuit filed by Miller Brewing Co. in U.S. District Court here, Bates USA and Zenith Media Services, both New York, denied they were obligated to deliver makegoods for their former client, saying Zenith had agreed to use its best efforts (AA, June 22). The agencies, dropped by Miller in 1996, also accused the brewer of failing to use successor shop Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, to obtain the makegoods.

Minolta to tap Hill, Holliday/Altschiller

[ramsey, n.j.] Minolta Corp. this week is expected to award its $9.5 million account to Hill, Holliday/Altschiller, New York. Lois/EJL, also New York, formerly handled.

Modem Media.Poppe Tyson wins E*Trade interactive account

[palo alto, calif.] Online financial trading service E*Trade is expected to announce this week it has selected Modem Media.Poppe Tyson, San Francisco, as its interactive agency. Billings were undisclosed. Gotham, New York, handles E*Trade's traditional advertising.

Promus narrows its account review to 6 contenders

[memphis, tenn.] Deutsch, New York, and GSD&M, Austin, Texas, withdrew from the review for the consolidation of Promus Hotel Corp.'s $40 million account. DDB Needham Worldwide, Dallas; Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago; Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Arnold Communications, both Boston; and Berlin, Cameron & Partners and TBWA Chiat/Day, both New York, are finalists. A decision is expected this month.

Ziff-Davis rechristens magazine to stress focus on business

[san francisco] Ziff-Davis is changing the name of its Internet Computing to Internet Business, part of a tightened focus on the business market. The title, launched in 1996 as ZD Internet Magazine, changed to Internet Computing in March. In a reorganization, Yahoo! Internet Life Publisher Jim Spanfeller is moving up to the new post of VP-publishing director for Yahoo! Internet Life and Internet Business.

F.Y.I.

United Video Satellite Group hired Richards Group, Dallas, as agency for its Prevue Channel; spending is estimated at $8 million to $10 million. GSD&M, Austin, and Gleason/Calise Associates, Dallas, were finalists in the review, handled in-house. Focus Group, Dallas, is the previous agency. . . .

Patricia Fili-Krushel to president, ABC Television Network, New York, from president, ABC Daytime. She succeeds Preston Padden, promoted to exec VP of ABC parent Walt Disney Co. . . . Software.net, an online software marketer, to Leagas Delaney, San Francisco, following a review handled in-house. There was no previous agency. Spending is estimated at $6 million to $10 million. . . .

Lynn Lehmkuhl to president, Petersen Cos.' Petersen Youth Group, New York, from group publisher, Walt Disney Co.'s Kids' Magazine Division. She succeeds Amy Wilkins, who left the company.

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