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Roche Labs reviewing media buying accounts

Roche Laboratories is reviewing general media buying and direct media buying duties for fat-fighting drug Xenical and influenza drug Tamiflu. Media and direct agencies have received RFPs from AAR/Bob Wolf Partners, New York, regarding the assignments. Total spending is estimated at $40 million to $50 million. General and direct media buying incumbents Impiric, Media Marketing Solutions and Media Direct Partners are all invited, according to executives close to the review.

Jeep, Chrysler unveil ads for 2001 model launches

DaimlerChrysler's Jeep and Chrysler units unveiled 2001 model launch ad plans. It said FCB Worldwide, Southfield, Mich., created nine TV spots for Jeep. The first arrives Sept. 9. Spending was not disclosed, but Jeep spent $283 million in measured media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. One new spot shows the Wrangler driving over the huge setting sun. Another shows a couple exiting a mud-covered Grand Cherokee Laredo in front of their posh home and getting covered with grit as the Jeep shakes off the mud like a dog. TV spots for the redesigned Chrysler Sebring sedan, coupe and convertible arrive Sept. 1.

Inside.com,`Standard' partner for new weekly

Inside.com and the Industry Standard will team up to launch a weekly magazine plumbing digital technology's transformative effect on entertainment and media. The magazine will be launched late this year, though its weekly frequency won't take effect until sometime in 2001. The Standard, majority owned by IDG Corp., will not invest cash in the venture, but will handle printing, distribution and subscription fulfillment. Ads will be sold by both the Standard and Inside.com.

Publishers Clearing House settles suits for $18.5 mil

Publishers Clearing House agreed to settle lawsuits filed by 24 state attorneys general by paying $18.5 million to the states for use either in restitution to consumers who spent more than $2,500 on magazines in any of the last three years or for consumer education campaigns. The company also agreed to limit some of its claims in advertising and direct mail. The settlement is similar to one Washington state negotiated earlier with American Family Publishers. Publishers Clearing House said it awarded prizes just as it had promised in its solicitations and believed its mailings "had always been clear to our many customers," but was settling to avoid the costs of prolonged litigation.

P&G confirms it has Clearasil up for sale

Procter & Gamble Co. confirmed it is seeking buyers for its Clearasil skincare brand (AA, July 31). The move is part of its plan to concentrate on its top brands. P&G said it hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to seek bids for the brand, which it said represents less than 2% of its beauty-care sales. The P&G announcement added that the marketer will keep the brand if a buyer is not found. Last year, the company sold Prell shampoo and Coast soap in similar deals. Grey Advertising, New York, handles Clearasil, which was supported with $11 million in U.S. media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Amazon expands offerings to cars

Amazon.com, Seattle, expanded its offerings with a two-year partnership with online car-buying service Greenlight.com. The two companies announced a co-branding partnership in which Greenlight is paying Amazon $15.25 million. Amazon already owns about 5% of the private Greenlight. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told Ad Age his site will market the new car-buying service to its customers online, with no traditional advertising planned.

Drkoop.com getting $20 million infusion

On the brink of depleting its cash reserves, Drkoop.com received $20 million in financing from investors including Prime Ventures, JF Shea Ventures, Cramer-Rosenthal-McGlynn and RMC Capital. The health site also installed new management: Richard M. Rosenblatt, formerly senior VP, e-business services at Excite@Home, was named CEO; Drkoop co-founder C. Everett Koop, the former U.S. surgeon general, will continue as chairman, and former president-CEO Donald Hackett will remain a director. On Aug. 21, Drkoop also reported that the Securities & Exchange Commission was conducting an informal investigation into whether the company had violated securities laws.

Carat enters Japan with SPI purchase

Carat, the international media buying and planning specialist owned by the U.K.'s Aegis, has bought a majority stake in Strategic Planners International, Tokyo, Japan's first and only independent strategic media planning company. SPI only plans media because a handful of Japanese ad agencies dominate media buying in Japan. Aegis CEO Douglas Flynn said, "We will not undermine the unique positioning of Carat SPI, but on the other hand, we will be seeking ways to expand our presence in the market through cooperation with major Japanese agencies or other innovative means." SPI will be renamed Carat SPI K.K.

SEC, NASD reviewing E-Trade advertising

E-Trade Group advertising is under investigation by the Securities & Exchange Commission and the enforcement arm of the National Association of Securities Dealers, E-Trade disclosed in an SEC filing. The company did not comment on why its ads were under scrutiny, but said it had agreed to submit ads to the NASD for its review prior to their use for a three-month period ending Sept. 12 and was "cooperating fully."

OgilvyOne buys Lacek Group

OgilvyOne Worldwide, the marketing services unit of WPP Group-owned Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, acquired relationship marketing agency Lacek Group, Minneapolis, from Electronic Data Systems Corp. OgilvyOne in a statement said it purchased Lacek Group, which specializes in loyalty programs, in an effort to expand its customer relationship management capabilities. Lacek Group will be run by General Manager Bill Baker, overseeing day-to-day operations in the Minneapolis office. He will report to New York-based Michelle Bottomley, chief relationship marketing officer at OgilvyOne North America and newly appointed managing director of Lacek Group.

Travelocity.com is launching magazine

Travel site Travelocity.com unveiled the first issue of Travelocity magazine. Travelocity.com is partnering with American Airlines Publishing to produce the every-other-monthly magazine, which is to hit the newsstands Sept. 5. Features include tips on using the Travelocity site as well as destination highlights. The magazine will retail for $3.95 and subscriptions are sold for $14.95 on Travelocity.com. Microsoft Corp.'s Expedia online travel service is also expected to launch a magazine this fall called Expedia Travels.

Merck & Co. to shift target for Propecia

Next year's marketing efforts for prescription hair-loss drug Propecia from Merck & Co. will focus on physicians. Y&R Advertising, New York, had handled the brand's direct-to-consumer advertising for the last four years, with spending estimated at $20 million. "Consumer initiatives have been met, and they're focusing 2001 marketing efforts on the physician business, which will continue to be handled by Sudler & Hennessey," said a Y&R spokeswoman. Sudler & Hennessey, New York, is a global healthcare unit within Y&R.

New Hilfiger post for Peter Connolly

Peter Connolly was assigned expanded duties as president-worldwide marketing and communications at Tommy Hilfiger USA, New York, a new post. He will be responsible for all the company's marketing, advertising and public relations activities. Mr. Connolly had been president-worldwide marketing and president of Hilfiger's Tommy.com. He will continue to head Tommy.com in his new post, the company said.

Kraft is taking stake in EthnicGrocer.com

Kraft Foods said it has invested an undisclosed amount in Internet food retailer EthnicGrocer.com. According to a company statement, the strategic partnership initially will include placing Alene Korby, Kraft's senior VP-procurement, on the e-tailer's board and exchanging information with the online retailer about supply chain platforms and distribution efforts to reach ethnic consumers. Kraft did not comment on its level of involvement with EthnicGrocer.com's marketing efforts.

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