for Focus Media
[new york] Focus Media, Los Angeles, is close to a deal to be acquired by Interpublic Group of Cos. Word in the TV station rep community is that the deal is one to two weeks away; Interpublic said there is no deal and Focus executives could not be reached. Focus, a $300 million shop that buys spot TV for Sears, Roebuck & Co., recently won buying for DreamWorks SKG. A sister Interpublic shop, Western International Media, Los Angeles, does the buying for rival studio Walt Disney Co. It was unclear whether the acquisition would be done through Western or Interpublic itself.
NBC adding interactive
slant to some shows, ads
[new york] NBC will add a number of interactive elements to commercials and some of its prime-time and sports programming this fall through an agreement with Wink Communications. Wink has interactive software that works with set-top boxes and TV remote controls (AA, April 14). Examples of the interactivity include the ordering of a brochure or coupon while a commercial is running and pulling up sports stats while an event is broadcast. No advertisers are yet signed up. Initially, about 100,000 to 200,000 homes will have the Wink-equipped cable set-top boxes; the company hopes to have 4 million to 5 million in homes by the end of 1998.
Calvin Klein stirs up
[new york] Calvin Klein Cosmetics Co. will introduce the women's fragrance Contradiction this fall with an estimated $15 million marketing budget, including $2 million for TV with the balance for print ads, 20 million fragrance strips and other promotional vehicles. Ads are handled in-house.
$30 mil acc't to TBWA
[munich] TBWA International's Frankfurt and Munich offices have won the $30 million account for Hypo-Bank, Germany's fifth-largest bank. The previous agency was Herrwerth & Partner, Munich.
Last-minute bidders vie
with TN for BJK&E
[chicago] True North Communications is facing 11th-hour competition from unidentified bidders for Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt, New York, with one said to be Havas Advertising, Paris. Neither BJK&E nor Havas executives returned phone calls; True North executives would not comment. Executives close to the talks said a True North/BJK&E deal could be completed within two weeks-but if it's not done within a month, the odds are it won't happen. These executives also said the organizational structure is the last remaining point to be worked out.
Heller narrows agency
hunt to Doremus, Arian
[chicago] Heller Financial has narrowed its search for a new ad agency to Doremus & Co., New York, and Arian Lowe & Travis, Chicago, and a decision is expected within six weeks. Heller wants to launch a branding campaign by the first quarter of 1998. Currently, it works with Coil Counts Ford & Cheney, Creative Marketing Resource and the Townsend Agency, a direct marketing shop, all Chicago.
Sam's Club rebranding
goes to Tatham
[bentonville, ark.] Sam's Club, the discount club division of Wal-Mart Stores, picked Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, for a rebranding effort. Spending is estimated at $10 million.
5 new partners
[minneapolis] Finance Director Tim Frojd has been named a partner at Martin/Williams, Minneapolis, as part of the agency's succession planning. Also promoted to partners: Steve Collins, director strategic client services; Mike Gray, director of strategic development; Lyle Wedemeyer, creative director; and Dan Woodbury, director of marketing services. All will retain their previous duties and run the agency as a team.
Schwab nears decision
on $10 mil review
[san francisco] Charles Schwab & Co. is expected to pick the first agency for its estimated $10 million online trading account in mid-July, after a second round of pitches. In the running are Blazing Paradigm, San Francisco; Mendelsohn/Zien, Los Angeles; and Montgomery North, New York.
`TV Guide' readies
series of specials
[new york] TV Guide and Twentieth Television have teamed to produce a series of TV Guide 1-hour specials. The first in the series, "TV Guide Looks at Science Fiction," will air July 5 on USA Network at 9 p.m. (ET) and on July 7 on USA's sister network, the Sci-Fi Channel.
account to Persuasion Group
[nashville] Bridgestone/Firestone has moved its estimated $15 million account from TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, to the Chicago office of the Persuasion Group, a division of TBWA Chiat/Day.
joins Achenbaum Bogda
[new york] The former president-CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, DeWitt Helm Jr., is consolidating his Advertising Partnership consulting service into Achenbaum Bogda Associates, the ad search consultancy run by Alvin Achenbaum and Pete Bogda. Mr. Helm will become managing partner of the company's new consulting division.
Crown and Super Crown bookstore chain picked DeVito/Verdi, New York, as first agency for its $5 million TV and outdoor advertising account. . . . Michael Berman to the new post of president, Hachette Filipacchi Productions, a film programming division of Hachette, from president and co-founder of George. . . . Scott Ford to publisher, The Atlantic Monthly, from VP-New York sales manager of U.S. News & World Report. He succeeds Jayne Young, who left in May. . . . Anheuser-Busch is expected to break TV spots by DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, this week that feature Chairman August Busch III.