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Old theme, new woes for Campbell Soup

Campbell Soup Co. last week looked to the past as it faced an uncertain future, turning to a venerable old ad theme while suffering a steep plunge in earnings. Campbell on Sept. 6 unveiled its newest ad campaign, reheating the old "M'm! M'm! Good!" tagline. The new effort from BBDO Worldwide, New York, which was expected when Campbell scrapped last year's "We've got a soup for that" theme, includes six TV spots, print ads in September magazines and radio ads set for later in the year. The budget for the campaign, which is starting two months earlier than last year's effort and will run through April, represents a "significant increase in spending" as Campbell looks to steer away from trade promotions and focus on building value for its icon brands through advertising, a company spokesman said.

The ads will focus, as expected, on the health benefits of tomato soup, the addition of 20% more chicken in the chicken noodle variety, the ease of cooking with cream of mushroom soup, the new line of ready-to-serve soups, and the more than 30 varieties that contain less than 100 calories and 3 grams of fat or less. Although the "M'm! M'm! Good!" tag has not been used in a campaign for 16 years, Campbell has continued to use the tune of the refrain in advertising and alluded to the theme in a mid-1990s effort that touted the soups as "M'm! M'm! Better!"

"We never walked away totally from the slogan, and now we're bringing it back full force because consumers connect with the tagline and see it as synonymous with Campbell's," the spokesman said.

A day after rolling out the ad campaign, Campbell reported fourth-quarter earnings of $59 million, down nearly 50% from a year ago, in large part due to a 4.5% decline in U.S. consumption of its soups in fiscal 2000. Moves to revitalize Campbell, including the new ads, aren't expected to affect earnings until at least after the first quarter of 2001, when earnings are expected to be 6› to 8› below analyst expectations, said President-CEO David Johnson. to Arnold; `Fortune' hires Mullen

Jobs Web site selected Arnold Communications, Boston, to handle its $90 million account. Arnold beat out a group of contenders including incumbent Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; BBDO Worldwide, New York; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. was seeking an agency that could accommodate accelerated growth at the dot-com, said executives close to the review. recently launched operations in Europe. Last week wasn't a complete disaster for Mullen, however. Time Inc.'s Fortune consolidated its account at the agency, shifting business from Fallon, New York. Mullen has been doing project work for the magazine's small business effort, FSB: Fortune Small Business, since September 1999. Fortune spent about $1.3 million in measured media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Saatchi/S.F. bags acc't, an online site with information on sales at bricks-and-mortar stores, selected Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco, to handle an account anticipated to be worth $10 million to $15 million. Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners was the other finalist. Select Resources International, West Hollywood, Calif., was the consultant. Previous agency DMNA, Palo Alto, also will continue to work with Shoppinglist.

Conde Nast elevates Fine to VP status

Deborah Fine, publisher of Conde Nast Publications' Glamour, on Sept. 5 added VP to her business card, making her the eighth among an elite group of Conde Nast publishers who sport both titles. The promotion capped a bizarre few weeks for Ms. Fine, in which her firing was rumored to be imminent. Before the VP announcement on Sept. 5, in fact, the New York Post reported -- incorrectly, Conde Nast executives said -- that her firing would come by the end of the week. Executives inside and outside Conde Nast said the company had wooed Jayne Jamison, publisher of Hearst Magazines' Redbook, in recent weeks for the publisher's post at Glamour, but those efforts failed when Ms. Jamison's contract with Hearst proved unbreakable. Ms. Jamison had previously accepted the publisher's slot at Conde Nast's Lucky but was faced with similar circumstances at Hearst. Hearst and Conde Nast officials declined to comment on the Jamison/Fine situation, and neither publishing executive returned phone calls. Glamour's circulation of 2.2 million is the largest of any Conde Nast title. Through July of this year, the magazine's ad pages are down 8.1% from last year's results.

`Newsweek' names worldwide publisher

Greg Osberg, 43, was named to the new post of exec VP-worldwide publisher at Newsweek. In 1997, Mr. Osberg left his associate publisher perch at the newsweekly to become president of sales and marketing at CNET. He will be based in New York and be responsible for all of Newsweek's worldwide sales, marketing and brand development. Newsweek Publisher Carolyn Wall will report to Mr. Osberg. Through August, Newsweek's ad pages were down 5.6% from the same period last year, while rival Time's pages rose 1.5% and U.S. News & World Report's pages dropped 13.5%.

Newspaper ad spending up 6.8% in 2nd quarter

Ad spending in newspapers climbed 6.8% for the second quarter over the same period in 1999, to $12.1 billion, according to the Newspaper Association of America. National advertising was up 14.3% to $2 billion; classified, up 5.5% to $4.7 billion; and retail, up 5.2% to $5.4 billion. For the first half, total ad spending in newspapers was up 6.3% to $22.9 billion, with national up 16.3% to $3.9 billion, classified up 6.1% to $9 billion and retail up 3% to $10 billion.

Domecq exec indicted in POP kickback probe

A former liquor executive is the target of the highest indictment coming from a long-running federal probe into kickbacks in the point-of-purchase industry. Michael Domecq, former president of Domecq Importers and later president of Allied Domecq Spirits & Wine, Latin America, was named in an eight-count indictment and accused of conspiracy to divert $14.6 million from the company into personal offshore banks, evading taxes and money laundering. The indictment charges that from 1989-95, Mr. Domecq and co-conspirators approved phony invoices from "suppliers" who then issued checks back.

Hershey to expand successful Bites line

Hershey Foods Co. in December will launch new varieties of its successful Bites line, based on its Kit Kat and Heath candy bars. The two products will be supported with an estimated $10 million TV and print campaign in March that focuses on the overall brand but emphasizes the new varieties. DDB Worldwide, New York, handles.

GM composes effort supporting Burns' `Jazz'

General Motors Corp. on Sept. 6 announced details for an integrated marketing push behind its sponsorship of Ken Burns' latest documentary, "Jazz." The 10-part series debuts on the Public Broadcasting Service Jan. 8. GM plans educational posters, viewing guides and a special video for middle school music teachers. The carmaker teamed with Sony Corp. and Universal Music Group Records for CDs tied to the series. Starbucks Coffee Co. will promote the documentary in its 3,000 stores, and the National Basketball Association will promote a league-produced jazz-theme version of its "I love this game" spots. GM is the sole corporate underwriter for "Jazz." The carmaker has teamed with Mr. Burns since 1990, and in '99 renewed a deal with the filmmaker spanning another decade.

Maxxcom goes overseas with Interfocus purchase

Maxxcom, Toronto, made its first acquisition outside North America by picking up a 60% stake in integrated communications agency Interfocus Network, London, from the Lowe Group. Maxxcom has a majority stake in 18 agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Its U.S. holdings include Margeotes/Fertitta & Partners, New York (see related story on Page 46). The Interfocus investment is a way for Maxxcom, which generates 75% of total revenue in the U.S., to present itself as a truly multinational network, said Maxxcom President-CEO Beverly Morden. For Interfocus, the purchase provides it the financial muscle to immediately acquire Osprey London Ltd., part of Osprey Communications. That move will boost Interfocus' $87 million in annual billings to an expected $114 million.

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