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3Com places $100 mil account at Lowe Lintas

3Com Corp. awarded its $100 million global brand assignment to Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York. FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, previously handled. The networking company is looking to rebrand itself, focusing on the consumer market and the small and midsize business segment, said Jan Soderstrom, senior VP-worldwide marketing. The $100 million figure represents a 40% to 50% increase in the company's ad budget. 3Com's newly spun off Palm subsidiary remains with FCB.

FCB resigns account of Gallo wine brands

FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, resigned the E&J Gallo Winery account that the agency won in 1994. Geoff Thompson, chairman-CEO of the FCB office, said in a statement: "There is a difference between a client that is merely `difficult' and a client that consistently asks you to compromise your standards and your integrity." FCB had done work for the E&J Gallo, Gallo of Sonoma, Gossamer Bay, Indigo Hills and Turning Leaf brands. Gallo handled media buying in-house. Spending fluctuated over the years but was well under $10 million, said an executive familiar with the account. Gallo didn't return calls for comment.

Burger King enlists actress Turner for ads

Burger King Corp. is trying to woo both customers and franchisees back into its favor with a newly endorsed transformation plan and a $500 million marketing effort that focuses on flavor. The fast-feeder at a franchisees meeting last week unveiled a five-week, limited-time offer for a new X-treme Double Cheeseburger, with ads that feature voice-over by actress Kathleen Turner. The ads from Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, employ the new tagline "Got the urge?" replacing the failed "If you ask us." Separately, Burger King is offering a sweepstakes to win a 2000 Monte Carlo pace car, using racer Dale Earnhardt in banner ads on major sports and racing Web sites.

Jenny Craig unveils ads without Lewinsky

Jenny Craig Inc. last week replaced its ad campaign featuring Monica Lewinsky with new ads touting the repositioning of its core weight loss program. Despite the shift, the relationship with Ms. Lewinsky is "unchanged," a Jenny Craig spokeswoman said, and the company is pleased with the results of the five-week campaign starring the infamous White House intern. The spokeswoman wouldn't comment on the presence of Ms. Lewinsky in future marketing. Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, handles advertising for Jenny Craig.

ABC's `Wonderland' pulled after 2 episodes

After some advertisers yielded to the wishes of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and pulled spots, ABC took its new show "Wonderland" off the air after only two episodes. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and Scotts Co. were among the sponsors that withdrew support, NAMI said. NAMI had complained that the show about a psychiatric hospital reinforced the stigma attached to mental illness. An ABC spokesman said poor ratings, not advertiser unrest, led to pulling the show.

Sears wins round in suit against Focus Media

Sears, Roebuck & Co. claimed an initial victory last week when it secured a preliminary injunction against Focus Media in the retailer's lawsuit against the Santa Monica, Calif., media buyer (AA, March 20, et seq.). The injunction freezes $12 million that Sears gave Focus to pay for ad time in 1999, but also says Sears must pay all media invoices for January and February, and put up a $500,000 bond. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Patricia L. Collins said Sears showed "a probability of prevailing" in a key argument that Focus was an agent of the retailer, and therefore responsible for paying Sears' media bills. Focus has contended it technically wasn't Sears' agent. Responding to the injunction, however, Focus representatives said the decision hurts Sears as much as their company because it says Focus was an agent of Sears. "It makes Sears liable for [payments to] all the media companies," said Bert Fields, an attorney representing Focus. Sears' invoices for January and February are estimated at $15 million, he said.

Agencies' media units branch into new ventures

The media buying arms of two major agencies are joining forces with other companies to pursue programming and interactive ventures. Grey Advertising's MediaCom is partnering with CBS Broadcast International to launch EyeVenture Media & Entertainment. The new venture is "the first thing of its kind," said a spokeswoman at MediaCom, "combining a network and a media company." EyeVenture will sell CBS programming to international advertisers that can then deliver it to other networks and wrap their advertising around the shows. Separately, Young & Rubicam's Media Edge is joining with ACTV to create addressable, interactive digital TV advertising. ACTV's software isn't a recording device like TiVo or Replay, a company spokesman said, but allows viewers to customize shows, such as determining camera angles, and interact with advertising. Media Edge and ACTV will develop a service called Spot On, in which advertising will be delivered to homes based on demographic profiles. Unlike TiVo or Replay, the service can't delete advertising.

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