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Rapp Collins shutters Minneapolis office

Omnicom Group's Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York, is closing its 29-person Minneapolis office and consolidating all Midwestern accounts at the marketing services agency's Chicago office. The Minneapolis operation, which will remain open for about a month, is led by President Patrick Furey. The bulk of the business managed in Minneapolis will continue to be managed from Chicago. Rapp Collins, Minneapolis, accounts to be transferred to the Chicago office include brokerage Dain Rauscher (a division of Royal Bank of Canada), Genmar, Main Street Network, Officemax.com and medical device company Medtronic. The 29 Minneapolis staffers represent 1% of the agency's worldwide work

force of 2,900.

Although marketing services growth is outpacing general advertising in the slowing economy, direct shops are not immune to job cuts and consolidation. The Rapp Collins closing-and imminent layoffs-follow job reductions at other marketing services shops in the last few months. Publicis Groupe's Frankel in February cut 45 jobs, or 6% of its 730 employees, in Chicago and San Francisco. Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftWorldwide, Chicago, let go about 30 people-close to 4% of its 780-member Chicago work force-earlier this year. Draft, the No. 4 marketing services agency globally and No. 3 in the U.S., has been staffing up since winning the Burger King Corp. promotions business in January. (See AdAge.com for full story.)

Odyssey Network to become Hallmark Channel

Crown Media Holdings, a cable-TV network operator, said it would rename its Odyssey Network the Hallmark Channel to promote its relationship with parent Hallmark Cards. The name change, to take effect Aug. 6, will coincide with a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, Crown Media said. The renamed family-entertainment channel will have more original programs developed exclusively for the channel by Hallmark Entertainment, producer of the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" shows, Crown Media CEO David Evans said. Crown Media is hoping to attract more advertisers to its station and to increase the number of U.S. cable systems and satellite providers that carry it, he said.

Ad Council petitions FCC on drug ad requirements

The Advertising Council has formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to waive any requirement that would force TV broadcasters to label millions of dollars of public service ads as "paid for by the White House anti-drug office." In the petition to the FCC filed March 28, the Ad Council said that labeling public service ads "White House sponsored" would confuse messages, threaten their effectiveness and raise some issues on whether the ads qualify for the low-talent and production rates given public service spots. (See AdAge.com for full story.)

Jaguar officially names Y&R global creative agency

Jaguar Cars Ltd., owned by Ford Motor Co., appointed WPP Group's Y&R Advertising to be its global creative ad agency, as expected (AA, Feb. 5). Y&R will succeed the Global Communications Group, the 3-year-old joint venture of WPP siblings J. Walter Thompson Co. and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Jaguar earlier had denied the report. The estimated $125 million account will be handled by Y&R's network of worldwide offices, but coordinated by its London office. Y&R also handles Ford's Lincoln and Mercury brands in the U.S. and last fall won the automaker's estimated $75 million lead global Land Rover account.

Zenith Media out of

$600 mil Philips review

Zenith Media, jointly owned by Cordiant Communications Group and Publicis Groupe, is among the agencies dropped from the $600 million Philips Electronics consolidated global media buying and planning business. Three others have been dropped but have not been identified. An executive at Zenith confirmed the Zenith cut, but declined to comment.

In the meantime, Philips added Interpublic's Initiative Media to its list of contenders, according to an executive at Initiative. So far, the list of Philips review survivors includes Bcom3 Group's Starcom MediaVest Group, Aegis Group's Carat, WPP Group's MindShare and Omnicom's OMD.

Kmart flips the on switch for return of Blue Light

Kmart Corp., Troy, Mich., as expected, is bringing back its Blue Light special. A teaser campaign broke last week with ads such as those in New York showing a lighthouse beacon with the words "The blue light is back." Kmart's new Chairman-CEO Chuck Conaway indicated he was interested in reviving the trademark at the time he hired Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, as its agency last fall. The Blue Light special was created by a store manager in the 1960s and dropped by the retailer in the 1990s.

Bcom3's Giant Step eliminates 52 jobs

Bcom3's Giant Step eliminated 52 jobs March 28, a spokeswoman said. She would not identify the positions cut, but said in a statement that the layoffs were "to ensure the continued success and profitability in this changing market. This is a reflection of the evolving needs of our business and the realities of the current economic climate."

VW names manager,

readies for luxury car

Michael Grosche, previously responsible for Volkswagen's marketing strategy, becomes manager of VW's marketing communications for local and international markets this month, succeeding Rolf Dielenschneider, who will move to a distribution job. VW's next marketing move will be to name an agency to launch the D1, a VW luxury car to compete with Mercedes-Benz. Contenders are Omnicom's DDB Berlin; Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Duesseldorf; Leagas Delaney, Hamburg; and Havas Advertising's Arnold Worldwide Partners, Boston. Separately, VW moved its estimated $90 million media planning and buying business in Spain to Interpublic's Initiative Media from Aegis' Carat International.

Spam bill wins approval

from Commerce panel

Legislation that would put a new limit on Internet "spamming" won unanimous approval from the House Commerce Committee, which sent the legislation to the House floor. The bill from Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., would require real return addresses on commercial e-mail, let consumers remove their names from lists and would give Internet service providers greater authority to limit spamming. A Direct Marketing Association official said the third issue is the main concern of direct marketers and he said that negotiations to revise the bill to set allowable limits are ongoing.

Modernista! awarded

additional Gap campaigns

The Gap Inc.'s Gap division has extended its relationship with Boston-based start-up Modernista! through the end of the year. A spokesman for the San Francisco-based retailer said Modernista! will work on two additional campaigns, one for back to school and one for the 2001 holiday season. Modernista! was hired a year ago to help the retailer's in-house agency produce TV ads. The extension comes at a time when the Gap, like other retailers, is struggling with sales. Separately, the Gap named agency veteran Peter Hempel, 42, formerly exec VP-general manager at Interpublic's Lowe Lintas & Partners, New York, as exec VP-marketing, filling a spot vacant since last fall when Jim Nevins left the company.

FYI

National radio advertising revenue was down 20% in February compared with the 22% increase witnessed last February, according to the Radio Advertising Bureau. ... U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer will close or sell all its international operations to focus on its ailing U.K. business. ... Horacio Gomes, president-CEO of HeadQuarters Advertising, San Francisco, was named president of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, succeeding Daisy Exposito-Ulla, president-chief creative officer of WPP Group's Bravo Group. ... U.K. banking giant NatWest is moving its $45 million U.K. account to M&C Saatchi, London, from Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide, London.

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