Havas, Publicis notch double-digit profit gains
French ad giants Havas Advertising and Publicis both reported strong double-digit gains for the first half of 1999. Paris-based Havas said its net income soared 30.3% in the period to $39.08 million. Gross income of $565.6 million was up 26.8% from the same period last year. Billings also climbed 26.8%, to $3.77 billion. Publicis' consolidated net income was up 37% to $35.68 million on 17% higher revenue of $516.2 million. Billings increased 20% to $3.39 billion in the first half. Both companies predicted continued strong performance in the second half.
TI's $20 mil campaign includes return to TV
Texas Instruments on Oct. 2 debuted a $20 million cable TV, print and online campaign flagging its digital technology leadership. The advertising from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Houston, is part of a three-year, $80 million commitment to showcasing TI's core digital signal processing and semiconductor technologies. It also marks the company's first TV campaign in 15 years.
FCB reaps $25 mil Deere divisional acc't
Deere & Co. gave the $25 million worldwide account for its commercial and consumer products division to FCB Worldwide, Chicago, as expected (Ad Age Daily, Sept. 20). Deere parted ways with Publicis & Hal Riney earlier this year.
Clinton OKs $185 mil more for anti-drug campaign
President Clinton signed a Treasury Department appropriations bill that includes another year of funding for the White House anti-drug ad program at the same $185 million level as the previous year. The latest bill for the first time lets the White House anti-drug office hire a minority agency and pay it normally if the Partnership for a Drug-Free America can't come up with appropriate creative to serve the community quickly enough. Up till now, the government has only paid production costs for agency work. The funding includes about $150 million a year for advertising, with the rest for evaluation and a public relations campaign.
Mazda lease ads lead to record FTC fine
Mazda Motor of America agreed to pay $5.25 million -- the largest civil fine in the history of the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection bureau -- for failing to live up to terms of an earlier agreement with the FTC regarding lease ads. The fine will be shared with 24 states. Mazda in early 1997 was one of several car marketers cited by the FTC for running misleading lease ads; the automakers then agreed to disclose important lease terms in their advertising. The FTC accused Mazda of failing to act and running ads in 1997 and early '98, via Foote, Cone & Belding, Santa Ana, Calif., and San Francisco, that didn't adequately disclose the terms. FCB was cited by the FTC in '98 but no longer handles the account.
Kellogg feeds Lender's bagels to Aurora Foods
Kellogg Co. said it's selling the Lender's bagel business to Aurora Foods for $275 million. The faltering cereal marketer purchased the packaged bagels business for $466 million in 1996, hoping to extend its breakfast offerings. The purchase fits into Aurora's strategy of acquiring and rebuilding undermarketed brands, among them Aunt Jemima, Duncan Hines and Log Cabin. Aurora has pledged to increase marketing support of Lender's, including the introduction of new products and packaging.
Nabisco to acquire candy marketer Favorite Brands
Nabisco announced plans to acquire candy marketer Favorite Brands International for $475 million. With annual sales of nearly $700 million, Favorite Brands is ranked fourth in the growing non-chocolate candy segment. Nabisco plans to combine Favorite's Farley's brand fruit snacks as well as its gummi candy and marshmallow products with Nabisco's LifeSavers candy business to form one company with sales of about $1.25 billion.
Big 4 broadcast networks slip in key viewer demo
Despite a large number of prime-time season debuts the week of Sept. 20, the Big 4 broadcast networks slipped in viewership among adults 18-49, compared with the same week a year ago; in total, the decline was about 7%. Cable was up about 10% in the coveted demo, with most of that gain on cable networks other than the top 10. On the broadcast side, NBC led the pack among 18-to-49-year-olds, with a 6.4 rating/18 share, as measured by Nielsen Media Research, followed by ABC with a 4.9/14, CBS with a 4.3/12 and Fox with a 3.7/11. NBC was down 2% from a year ago; ABC, down 6%; CBS, down 9%; and Fox, down a precipitous 14% in the 18-49 demo. Not only have two of Fox's new shows -- "Action" and "Get Real" -- been disappointing, ratings-wise, but two of its main drivers in the demo, "Ally