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McCann-Erickson cuts 5% of San Francisco staff

Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide, San Francisco, laid off 5% of its 250-person staff across all departments and accounts. The cuts, reported first on, were announced internally Aug. 8 and made on a local basis, said Barrie Hedge, chairman of the office. Mr. Hedge said the layoffs are not considered part of the 5,700 job cuts announced in late July by Interpublic (AA, July 30). "We've really had a relatively good year, but we're not immune to this economy and what's happening in this market," Mr. Hedge said. "It's prudent to make some adjustments." The San Francisco office, which counts Microsoft Corp. as its major client, has been relatively stable in a sea of volatility. Earlier this year, however, the agency laid off a handful of personnel in the creative department.

PIB registers 17% drop in July magazine ad pages

What passes for good news for the Publishers Information Bureau survey of magazine ad pages in July is this: Things worsened at a slower rate. In July, pages in 249 magazines tracked by PIB fell 17.4%. That was below the 18.6% June decline, though above May's 16.9% drop. Through July, the average magazine's pages fell 11.7%. Trending downward was Time Inc.'s stalwart In Style, which showed growth in the early part of the year but has slipped with an 0.8% decline year-to-date. Of the top four advertising categories-in order, automotive, direct response, travel and sporting goods-the latter two eked out low single-digit gains of 2.5% and 1.5%, respectively, while auto is down 8.6% and direct response is down 0.9%. But last year's highflier and top category-computers, software and Internet-fell to fifth place, with ad pages off 43.7%. All of the three newsweeklies were down in the 20% range. Last year's ad page leader Industry Standard is No. 21 in the overall ad page derby this year, with pages off 75.3%.

McKinney & Silver lands $30 mil Nasdaq account

Nasdaq has awarded its $30 million account to Havas Advertising's McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., which bested WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, and Bouchez Kent, New York. The fully integrated account also includes media planning and buying. Only McKinney, JWT and Bouchez made final pitches. Participants in the initial review included: Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston; WPP's Y&R Advertising, New York; Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York; Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York; and the Richards Group, Dallas. Incumbent Havas' Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG did not participate in the review.

Adobe Systems holding review for $20 mil account

Adobe Systems, marketer of the popular desktop and Web publishing tools PhotoShop and Acrobat, will hold chemistry meetings with ad agencies as early as Aug. 20 as the company embarks on a review for its estimated $20 U.S. million account. The San Jose, Calif.-based company has worked with WPP's Y&R, San Francisco, for four years; the agency will participate in the review, which is being run by Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif. Adobe declined to name the contenders but said the agencies are all midsize and based on the West Coast.

StarMedia CEO exits after disappointing Q2

StarMedia Network, one of the first Latin American Internet portals to launch five years ago, announced disappointing second-quarter revenue of $14.2 million, down from $16 million during the first quarter of 2001, and a second-quarter net loss of $30.9 million. Fernando Espuelas, StarMedia's high-profile founder, is taking the fall. After vowing to break even by the end of the year, now seen as unlikely, Mr. Espuelas is instead stepping down as CEO in favor of President Enrique Narcisco, a Venezuelan with a financial background who was only promoted to president two months ago. Mr. Espuelas remains chairman. StarMedia fired 25% of its staff in May. Shares closed Aug. 9 at 48 cents.

Cossette grabs U.S. foothold with acquisition

Cossette Communications Group, the largest communication-marketing company in Canada, announced Aug. 9 it has bought Post & Partners, New York. The move finally gives Cossette an entry into the U.S., where it has been actively trying to acquire an agency for the past year. Post & Partners-to be now known as Cossette Post-is a relatively small shop, with gross income last year of $10.8 million. The total purchase price is composed of a closing payment of $7.5 million (U.S.) and future payments based on the future financial performance of Cossette Post over a period slightly in excess of four years.

Cybergold Web site to shut down this month

Rewards Web site Cybergold, which merged with last August and counted ad industry giant Jay Chiat as a founder and board member, announced it will shut down Aug. 31. In the meantime, Cybergold is offering members a reduced set of merchandise and services to earn and spend cash on until the end of the month. Parent company will continue to operate. UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, in June agreed to buy


Della Femina Rothschild Jeary & Partners, New York, has been named by AT&T Wireless to handle the creative advertising to support its authorized dealer channel. The estimated $10 million to $20 million account is separate from the $400 million account WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, won last month. ... Interpublic's DraftWorldwide, Chicago, was tapped by Singapore Airlines to handle a $20 million, two-year assignment for its frequent flier (Krisflyer) and Priority Passenger Services programs. ... ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., will combine its roughly $12 billion retail food business under one umbrella company, ConAgra Retail Food Products Co., to be headed by former Campbell Soup Co. executive F. Martin Thrasher.

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