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FTC clears merger

of AOL-Time Warner

America Online's $111 billion merger deal with Time Warner drew critical approval from the Federal Trade Commission last week, after the companies agreed to take several steps to ensure that the combination wouldn't limit access to cable modem lines to services offered by AOL or its partners. Time Warner services 20% of the country's cable TV households and there had been complaints that the original deal would have removed competition among Internet providers for broadband. Some feared it would allow AOL to put a stranglehold on competitors to Time Warner's cable TV networks who wanted to offer their own interactive or broadband products.

Woods renews alliance

with American Express

American Express Co. renewed its relationship with golfer Tiger Woods until 2007. The relationship between Mr. Woods and the company dates back to 1997, his first year in professional golf. He has appeared in ads for the American Express card and American Express financial products. Mr. Woods, one of the top endorsement stars in sports, recently ran into trouble with the Screen Actors Guild for appearing in spots for Buick automobiles during the recent commercial actors' strike. He later was fined by SAG and apologized to the union.

Sweepstakes curbs

begin to take effect

A year after legislation putting curbs on sweepstakes-marketing was signed by President Clinton, the final section of the law is taking effect. All sweepstakes mailings must contain information on how consumers can get their names off mailing lists and how to remove the names within 60 days.

McDonald's begins

mad-cow ads in Italy

McDonald's Corp. restaurants in Italy have started running a print ad campaign aimed at calming fears that customers could contract the deadly "mad cow" disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, by eating the company's hamburgers. The initiative, created by Leo Burnett Co., includes a photo of a hamburger with a small Italian flag hanging off one side, creating three levels separated with the two buns and the hamburger patty. The text outlines McDonald's safety standards: "Relax. It's guaranteed by McDonald's." The company declined to say what percentage of its estimated $19 million Italian ad budget had been diverted to the campaign.

Universal Pictures names Shmuger vice chairman

Marc Shmuger, president of marketing, has been named vice chairman of Universal Pictures, a new position in which he will oversee the coordination of the company's motion-picture assets as well as that of Vivendi Universal Cos., the new parent of Universal Pictures. Mr. Shmuger has been instrumental in marketing major film successes over the last two years, including this year's "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Additionally, Mr. Shmuger will oversee marketing worldwide, Internet and international distribution. Mr. Shmuger will continue to report to Stacey Snider, chairman of Universal Pictures.

FCB unit keeps hold on Levi Strauss' Canada acc't

Levi Strauss & Co. decided to keep its $5 million Canadian account at Harrod & Mirlin/FCB, Toronto. The account encompasses creative and media for the Levi's and Dockers brands. The review pitted the 10-year incumbent against TBWA/Chiat/Day, Toronto. Harrod President Peter Shier said changes at both the client and his shop resulted in the review. Mr. Shier said new work is expected next spring. Sibling agency FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, handles Levi Strauss' Dockers and Slates in the U.S. TBWA/Chiat/Day San Francisco is the agency for Levi's U.S. work.

Philip Morris completes acquisition of Nabisco

Philip Morris Cos. closed on its acquisition of Nabisco Holdings Corp. for $18.9 billion. Philip Morris' Kraft Foods unit had laid out plans for integrating Nabisco operations into its own North American and international businesses following the approval of the acquisition by the Federal Trade Commission. The new Kraft Foods North America, headed by President-CEO Betsy Holden, will include a Nabisco Biscuit Division, and Confections and Planters divisions. Rick Lenny, 48, formerly president of Nabisco Biscuit Co., has been named group VP-Kraft Foods and president, Nabisco Biscuit & Snacks, in charge of the new divisions.

Former Fallon execs

to open new agency

A group of former Fallon executives will open a Minneapolis shop called One with the mission of including clients in creative development of advertising. Mike Lescarbeau will lead the agency as creative director, from associate creative director, Fallon, Minneapolis. The other partners are Mike Fetrow, who will be head of art, from senior art director at Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco. He previously worked with Mr. Lescarbeau as an art director at Fallon. Marcus Fischer will be planning director, from account planner at Fallon.

Swartz begins job shuffle

at SmartMoney magazine

Steve Swartz, 38, president, CEO, editor in chief and co-founder of the Hearst Magazines/Dow Jones personal-finance title SmartMoney, will become exec VP of Hearst Newspapers, effective Jan. 1. Mr. Swartz will report to George Irish, 56, president of Hearst Newspapers. Mr. Swartz's business-side duties at SmartMoney will be picked up by Chris Lambiase, 43, formerly SmartMoney's senior-VP and publishing director.

Feakins joins Kirshenbaum Bond

Rob Feakins, the former co-creative director at Ammirati Puris Lintas, is joining Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, as co-executive creative director and managing partner. He succeeds Bill Oberlander, who now is executive creative director of Kirshenbaum Bond's Creative Ventures. Also filling the position of co-executive director and managing partner of the New York agency is Logan Wilmont, previously creative partner at Kirshenbaum Bond.

Kraft, Coke join forces

for Super Bowl sweeps

Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola Co. joined forces for a sweepstakes around Super Bowl XXXV. Beginning Dec. 26, specially marked Coca-Cola displays and labels of 27 participating Kraft products will feature a toll-free number consumers can call for the chance to win a variety of prizes. The two companies partnered around last year's Super Bowl as well.

J&J to modify ads after rival Novartis complains

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to modify ads for its new children's "Bedtime Bath" after rival Novartis Consumer Healthcare complained to the National Advertising Division. Novartis challenged Johnson & Johnson's claim that the bath soap was "pediatrician recommended" because the claim was made shortly after the product appeared. Johnson & Johnson said the claim was based on a pre-launch survey asking pediatricians whether they would recommend the product. NAD concluded Johnson & Johnson did not have sufficient data to say the product was recommended.

Turkish ad-industry pioneer Ogud dies

Attila M. Ogud, a pioneer of the Turkish advertising industry, died Dec. 8. Mr. Ogud, 61, founded an ad agency that later became part of the largest in Turkey and launched an advertising trade magazine. "Attila Ogud was an important figure in our industry and a great promoter of Turkish advertising," said Joe Cappo, former world president of the International Advertising Association, and senior VP-international at Crain Communications, publisher of Advertising Age.

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