Buy.com goes with Black Rocket for big plans
Buy.com, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based online retailer, moved its global account to Black Rocket, San Francisco, from in-house without a review. Buy.com is a rival of Amazon.com, selling computers, books, videos and music online. It plans to boost ad spending from the current $35 million level to as much as $100 million next year.
Media buyer Tempus sees profits soar 40%
Tempus Group, the world's second-largest independent media specialist after Aegis' Carat, reported a 40% increase in profits for 1998. Pre-tax profit hit nearly $21 million on 29% higher gross income of $114.6 million. London-based Tempus is strong in Europe but is just dipping its toes into the U.S. and Asia. Europe accounts for 95% of its billings, with the U.S. and Asia accounting for the remainder.
AGs ponder marketer use of non-profits' logos
Marketers that want to license the logos of non-profit groups to help sell products could face new restrictions if some state attorneys general have their way. A proposal from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and 15 others would require that marketers using logos disclose if their product hadn't been specifically endorsed by the group, avoid claims that the product is superior and disclose payment for the logo's use. The proposal also suggests non-profit groups avoid exclusive licenses.
Fox wants some ad time from network's affiliates
Fox Broadcasting Co. proposed taking up to 20 30-second prime-time spots a week from its affiliates, which could cut those stations' revenues substantially. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns some Fox affiliates, reportedly said the move could cost the company up to $10 million. Fox has proposed that its affiliates could buy back the time if they would also agree to sell an additional 15 spots, giving Fox 25% of those revenues. Since some of the affiliates might agree to the buyback and others would not, it's unclear whether Fox could sell any of the returned spots to national advertisers.
Pepsi whips up new ads in Storm beverage test
Pepsi-Cola Co. plans to launch new TV spots for lemon-lime Storm later this month. "Take your thirst by Storm" will be replaced by a "more subtle" theme line, a Pepsi-Cola spokesman said. BBDO Worldwide, New York, handles Storm, which was backed by $4.2 million in spot TV in test markets last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The marketer will add a tag to the new spots in May to tout a new calorie-free version called Light Storm, made with Pepsi One sweetener Ace-K. Storm is sold in 11 test markets.
Southwest ad honors baseball Hall of Famer
Southwest Airlines honors recent baseball Hall of Fame inductee Nolan Ryan in a TV spot breaking today. The tribute, tagged "From your friends in the upper deck," shows the former Texas Rangers pitcher in his high school days playing basketball, with a voice-over saying, "Destiny had other plans." GSD&M, Austin, Texas, handles.
La Quinta ads target business travelers
La Quinta Inns and La Quinta Inns & Suites focus on frequent business travelers in a new TV campaign that kicked off April 7. The six spots humorously target the sports-minded business traveler. The "La Quinta Sports Breaks" campaign stars a fast-talking sports broadcaster whose play-by-play focuses on features of La Quinta hotels. The commercials, from Publicis, Dallas, will run solely on regional Fox Sports channels in 18 states.
Republic Industries rebrands as AutoNation
Republic Industries changed its corporate name to AutoNation Inc. The move by the company founded 27 months ago by H. Wayne Huizenga signals the marketer's intent to make AutoNation a national brand name in new and used car sales, service and rental. The marketer said last fall it would make the branding move (AA, Sept. 28). The 380 new-car dealerships and Alamo, National and CarTemps rental-car brands will adopt AutoNation as a sub-brand. Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, handles the 45-unit AutoNation branded used-car chain.
Disney/ABC to launch soap opera cable channel
Walt Disney Co's Disney/ABC Cable Networks will launch a 24-hour soap opera channel in the U.S. in mid-January for cable and domestic satellite distribution. The company tested the concept in Chicago and Houston last year. The yet-to-be-named service will feature same-day prime-time repeats of the four soap operas that now air on the ABC-TV network: "All My Children," "General Hospital," "One Life to Live" and "Port Charles." The channel will be ad-free until "we hit a critical mass of homes," a Disney spokeswoman said.
Castrol drops ad claims in response to NAD
Castrol North America voluntarily agreed to discontinue ad claims of superior engine protection and "unique molecular bonding" for its Syntec motor oil, said the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD found Castrol's ad claims weren't substantiated. Competitor Mobil Corp. filed the complaint. NAD said Hampel Stefanides, New York, is agency of record. Paul