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AHP unit eyes consolidation of media planning business

American Home Products' Whitehall-Robins consumer-products division is in early discussions about consolidating its estimated $235 million in media-planning duties at one agency, a person familiar with the matter said. The discussions could lead to added planning duties for the prescription drugs marketed by AHP's Wyeth division, the person said. Whitehall markets products such as Advil and Centrum, while Wyeth markets Premarin and Enbrel, among others. A Whitehall spokesman denied the discussions had taken place.

MediaCom wins $55 million business from Danone

Groupe Danone, the French marketer of dairy products, biscuits and bottled water, awarded its estimated $55 million consolidated U.S. media buying and planning account to Grey Global Group's MediaCom. The review pitted incumbent MediaCom against another incumbent, WPP Group's Media Edge, as well as Aegis Group's Carat USA, which has no Danone business here. MediaCom handled buying for Evian water, while Havas Advertising's Media Planning, which did not participate in the review, worked on planning. Media Edge handle buying and planning for Dannon Yogurt.

Tempus argues against WPP's `escape clause'

In its rebuttal to WPP's request to the U.K. Takeover Panel to let it withdraw its bid for Tempus Group due to a "material adverse change" condition, Tempus argued there are "no grounds" for this escape clause to be invoked. Tempus notified the London Stock Exchange on Oct. 17 that it submitted its arguments to the panel. WPP announced Oct. 10 that it had petitioned the panel to let it exit its bid, citing deteriorating economic conditions. On the basis of the submission made by WPP, which Tempus has been permitted to see, Tempus' board "is firmly of the view that there are no grounds for allowing the material adverse change condition to be invoked," the company said in a statement. After an executive panel announces its ruling, the losing side will have a timeframe in which to appeal.

Tobacco marketers post increases for third quarter

Philip Morris Cos. reported $2.36 billion in underlying net earnings for the third quarter, up 5.3% from $2.24 billion in the year earlier period. The increase was driven primarily by the company's domestic business, which saw an 8.1% rise in operating income to $1.6 billion, 34% of the company's total operating income of $4.7 billion, which rose 12.5% from $4.2 billion in the third quarter of 2000. Separately, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings posted a 9.4% rise in net for the quarter, to $128 million from $117 million. Sales rose to $2.27 billion for the quarter from $2.08 billion last year.

Ameritech to launch ads to prevent service switches

SBC's Ameritech later this month launches a series of humorous ads aimed at preventing customers from switching to other local service providers. The spots, from Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, initially run in Detroit and Chicago and other parts of the Midwest and later are expected to roll out to other SBC companies such as Pacific Bell on the West Coast. In three initial spots, individuals answer the phone and are enticed to switch to other phone companies. In each, the call recipient has a flashback to the last time he or she switched away from a trusted provider. In one spot, a man's house is flooded as a result of the repairs of a new plumber. In another, a new gardener wrecks the house while trimming the bushes and in a third, an exterminator runs around the house with a baseball bat while trying to stomp out a mouse. In each case, the customer decides to stick with the tried and true. See more: AdAge.com QwikFIND AAM67Q.

FYI

Omnicom's RappDigital, the digital marketing and interactive division of Rapp Collins, named John S. Anderson, 53, general manager from exec VP. He continues as director of client services and will also oversee RappDigital's staff in New York and Dallas. ... Boston i-shop Viant said it would layoff about one-third of its staff, reducing the overall head count from 316 employees to 200. ... MoneyGram Payment Systems hired Thomas & Perkins, Denver, as lead agency for its $10 million account, replacing Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. ... Boston independent Holland Mark Advertising is closing. The 50-person agency said it is owned more than $5 million by two clients: Polaroid Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 protection this month, and Persumma Financial, which could not immediately be reached for comment. The agency has been hurt by the economic downturn, laying off staff in February and June.

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