Levi Strauss consolidates $40 mil in buying at OMD
Levi Strauss & Co. consolidated its $40 million-plus national broadcast TV buying account at Omnicom Group's new Optimum Media Direction (AA, Feb. 28). The decision followed a review that included Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, agency for Levi's jeans and now represented by OMD; TN Media, for Levi's Dockers and Slates shop FCB Worldwide; Young & Rubicam's Media Edge; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann; and MacManus Group's MediaVest. FCB will continue spot broadcast buying for Dockers and print buying for both Dockers and Slates. Measured spending for the first nine months of 1999 was $21 million for Levi's and $16 million for Dockers.
Wieden wins $25 mil Scout wireless account
Scout Electromedia named Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., as its first agency. The new wireless communications company estimated ad spending at $25 million. Scout plans this June to launch its first product, code-named Modo, a $100 device storing daily broadcasts of information about happenings in specific cities.
E-commerce represents 0.65% of U.S. retail sales
U.S. retail e-commerce sales in the fourth quarter reached $5.3 billion, 0.65% of total retail sales of $821.2 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Census Bureau said in its first e-tail sales report. By comparison, Advertising Age estimates dot-coms spent about $2 billion on fourth-quarter ads.
Kassan is partner in digital media company
Media executive Michael Kassan is teaming up with two other entertainment executives, Frank Biondi Jr. and Greg Meidel, to form Massive Media Group, a digital rights management company. Prominent West Coast attorney Howard Weitzman also is a partner in the new company. Massive Media will sell protection products and services to Internet content providers and advertising companies. Mr. Kassan will take the title of president of media/e-commerce. The former North American president of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Western Initiative Media Worldwide in September settled a bitter lawsuit and arbitration action in which Mr. Kassan accused his ex-employer of breach of contract and defamation of character (AA, July 26, et seq.). His departure from Western coincided with a financial audit of the unit by Interpublic.
Citizen Watch selects Ruderman agency for PR
Citizen Watch Co. of America hired Harriett Ruderman Public Relations, Port Washington, N.Y., as its public relations agency for the U.S. and Canada. Citizen also is meeting with agencies regarding the watchmaker's estimated at $12 million to $15 million ad account. Deutsch, New York, resigned the account in January, citing creative differences.
Euro RSCG buys majority stake in DRTV expert Tyee
Euro RSCG Worldwide, New York, is acquiring a majority stake in infomercial producer Tyee Group, Portland, Ore. The direct response TV agency will be renamed Tyee Euro RSCG and become part of Euro RSCG's branded marketing services operation, The Sales Machine. "As TV becomes more of a high-bandwidth marketing tool, it is believed that the future of all broadcast advertising will involve a direct response component," said Daniel Morel, CEO of The Sales Machine, which encompasses 76 agencies in 40 countries. "DRTV expertise will be in greater demand as corporate marketers seek out ways to direct-market through electronic media, and Tyee is perfectly positioned to provide clients with effective new-media direct response campaigns." Tyee will continue to be led by President-CEO Spencer Brown. It had 1999 billings of more than $60 million with clients such as GTE Corp., Home Depot, Philips Consumer Electronics and Target Stores.
Y&R makes moves in direct, public relations
Wunderman Cato Johnson renamed itself Impiric as part of an expected rebranding effort to reflect the New York agency's emphasis on customer relationship management services. The Young & Rubicam direct marketing company also announced strategic alliances with Digital Impact, San Mateo, Calif., and EchoMail, Cambridge, Mass., and the creation of a market research and development venture, the Marketing Lab. Company founder and Chairman Emeritus Lester Wunderman will serve as the worldwide director for Impiric's new marketing research arm. Impiric will take advantage of the targeted and trackable Internet marketing and brand building services available through the Digital Impact and EchoMail alliances. The new name and repositioning is the culmination of an almost two-year effort by Chairman-CEO Jay Bingle to move the company beyond its direct marketing roots. Separately, Y&R will acquire strategic communications company Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, New York. The 130-person public relations shop will retain its name and operate as a separate entity within Y&R's Diversified Communications Group. RLM Chairman-CEO Linda Gosden Robinson will become vice chairman at Y&R.
FTC tries again to stop Trans Union's list sales
The Federal Trade Commission on March 1 again ordered Trans Union Corp. to stop selling marketers lists of specific categories of consumers with good credit. In a case that could test the limits of the FTC's authority over privacy issues and also have a big impact on direct marketers, the commission ruled a second time on the case it first brought in 1992, because of an appellate court's confusion on the earlier FTC ruling. The FTC said Trans Union created a "consumer report" when it sold marketers lists of consumers with car loans, first mortgages and second mortgages, and that the sale of the information without a consumer's request for credit violates privacy laws. Trans Union has contended the sale of the information is covered by First Amendment freedoms, and said it would appeal the decision.
Gap's Jackson moves to Wal-Mart.com as CEO
Wal-Mart.com tapped The Gap Inc.'s Jeanne Jackson as its first CEO. Ms. Jackson, 48, had been CEO of The Gap's Banana Republic chain since 1996. In 1998, she also was named to head up Gap Direct, a division handling online and catalog programs for all Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy operations. Wal-Mart Stores earlier this year established the independent Wal-Mart.com company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., to handle the online offering in which it has a majority interest and majority board representation. Wal-Mart.com is a joint venture of Wal-Mart and venture capital company Accel Partners (see earlier story on Page S-14).
JWT alum Spivak steps in as Welke leaves Tatham
Helayne Spivak this week starts as interim creative director at Euro RSCG Tatham, after the Chicago agency suddenly split with Chief Creative Officer Bob Welke on March 1. Mr. Welke joined the agency in 1996 from Leo Burnett USA, where he was chief creative officer. Ms. Spivak was worldwide creative director at J. Walter Thompson Co. until she resigned in November 1997. She will work with Tatham President-CEO Gary Epstein, who also used to work at JWT. Ms. Spivak lost a $25 million defamation and sexual discrimination suit against JWT in January. Tatham has set up a creative task force to run the department until a permanent replacement is found for Mr. Welke. The agency has been criticized for a mediocre creative product. Last year alone, it lost the $90 million Procter & Gamble Co. account in an agency shuffle, as well as Hoover Co.'s $25 million account.
Heinz to buy Beech-Nut baby food marketer Milnot
H.J. Heinz Co. will acquire Milnot Co., marketer of Beech-Nut baby foods. The acquisition will give Heinz a 24% share of the U.S. prepared baby food category, which Gerber Products Co. dominates with a 73% share. Milnot spent $1.3 million to advertise Beech-Nut during the first 10 months of 1999. Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, handles.