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Interpublic merges HHCC, Goldberg shops

Interpublic Group of Cos., New York, merged Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, with Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco. The combined agency, with billings of $1.2 billion, will be headed by Jack Connors Jr., currently chairman-CEO of HHCC, who has had his eye on expansion to the West Coast. Fred Goldberg, chairman-CEO of Goldberg Moser O'Neill, becomes chairman of the combined agency. Mr. Goldberg said he will reduce his responsibilities for day to day operations by the end of the year, but will continue beyond that as chairman of the combined shop. The Boston and New York offices will be called Hill, Holliday. The San Francisco operation will be renamed GMO/Hill, Holliday. Brian O'Neill, currently chief creative officer at Goldberg Moser O'Neill, will become vice chairman-chief creative officer for the San Francisco shop. Goldberg Moser O'Neill, once the San Francisco office of Chiat/Day, has billings of $505 million, 275 employees, and clients such as Cisco Systems, Micronpc.com and Coca-Cola Co.'s Citra. HHCC's primary clients include Fleet Bank, Fidelity Investments and John Hancock Financial.

Y&R's Media Edge forms unit for local, net radio

The Media Edge, New York, formed a new Radio Edge division to handle local and network radio. Kim Vasey becomes senior VP in charge of the new unit of Young & Rubicam's media buying arm. Ms. Vasey, 45, previously was VP-associate director of local broadcast at Media Edge. "This new unit will help us to identify or create multilevel opportunities for clients," Ms. Vasey said. "Especially with things like satellite radio and Internet broadcasting coming into the mix, we want to be in tune with every aspect of radio, and to respond faster with our clients' dollars."

IBM cools off on ads themed to Olympics

IBM Corp., in the final year of its Olympics sponsorship, is leaning toward running Olympic-theme advertising only in Australia, say people familiar with the situation. The Summer Games will be held in Sydney. In previous Olympic years, Big Blue typically ran as many as five Games-oriented TV spots and six print ads in North America, tying its brand to the global event. This year, IBM is considering running non-Olympic, e-business creative in North America during the September Games. A person close to the matter said Abby Kohnstamm, IBM's senior-VP of marketing, is intent on pushing a "harder sell" message to drive the company's e-business initiatives. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, is the agency of record.

OneWorld airline alliance launches $35 mil in ads

The OneWorld Alliance, led by American Airlines and British Airways, launched a $35 million international campaign, its largest push yet. The print, outdoor and online effort from Temerlin McClain, Irving, Texas, and M&C Saatchi, London, highlights two new members of the grouping, Ireland's Aer Lingus and Latin American carrier LanChile.

Guby Internet platform breaks bilingual campaign

The Guby Network (guby.com), an Internet platform linking six Latin American Web portals, on April 19 unveiled the first phase of its three-year, $30 million international campaign. The bilingual integrated campaign will consist of TV, print and online ads targeting Latin American Internet users. The campaign marks the first international work created by Y&R Advertising's Y&R 2.1 in Miami. Young & Rubicam's Media Edge handles media buying. The advertising, themed "Que buscas?" ("What are you looking for?"), will highlight the power and relevance of the Internet as a useful and practical tool. Guby CEO Peter Campbell said the "campaign focuses on the functionality and usefulness of Guby's platform and local search capabilities."

Jane Jetson touts Talbots Web site

Talbots turns to Jane Jetson of futuristic cartoon fame to illustrate the ease of shopping online in a new print effort from Arnold Communications, Boston. The $1 million print campaign features a picture of George Jetson's wife with the headline "Remember how she just pressed a button and got a complete outfit? Guess what? Introducing talbots.com." The ad broke in the San Francisco Chronicle April 21 and arrives in other publications nationally this week. Talbots noted that its e-commerce site, launched last November, has helped in the company's marketing efforts by generating new customers for the store.

Gillette plans new blade, increased ad spending

Gillette Co. will introduce an improved blade design in its shaving products this year, Chairman-CEO Michael C. Hawley announced at the company's annual meeting in Boston. The new system, called Comfort Blade, will reach stores in November in both men's and women's products. The launch will be backed by advertising from BBDO Worldwide, New York. Comfort Blade, adapted from the Mach3 blade design, is meant to produce a closer, more comfortable shave. Also at the meeting Gillette posted encouraging results, including a 5.7% increase in first-quarter sales to $2.05 billion. Profits fell slightly, which company officials blamed on slow battery sales and exchange rates. Mr. Hawley also announced Gillette has increased marketing support for its flagship brands as part of a commitment to support its high-margin businesses. A company spokesman estimated ad spending has increased by about 40% during the first quarter. Gillette spent $164.4 million in U.S. media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Valassis, Catalina report profit gains

Valassis Communications, Livonia, Mich. said net earnings hit $53.4 million for the first quarter, rising 57.5% from a year ago. Revenue of $239 million was up 9.9%. Valassis' free-standing insert revenue was down slightly to $164.2 million, but for the year the company expects FSI revenue to increase 4% to 6%. Separately, Catalina Marketing Corp., St. Petersburg, reported net income rose 16% over a year ago to $14.4 million for the fourth quarter, ended March 31. Revenue climbed 23% to $93.7 million. The in-store promotion and retail loyalty company said quarterly revenue in its core domestic business grew by about 7%; European operations grew 39%. Full-year results: net income up 26% to $51.3 million, revenue up 33% to $350.9 million.

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