Unilever, iVillage link for beauty e-tail sites
Unilever formed a joint venture with iVillage to market beauty and personal-care products online. The two companies will build and develop the Beauty Channel within iVillage's site (ivillage.com), and also launch in the second half a separate Web site that will sell products from Unilever and other companies. Each partner will provide $200 million in cash and other resources to start the venture, which will reap revenue from advertising and sales. The undertaking will get "considerable" marketing support, said Charles B. Strauss, president of Unilever's North American home and personal-care unit. Unilever hasn't chosen an agency to develop marketing plans.
Subway's $60 mil media acc't goes to Grey unit
Subway awarded its $60 million national media account to Grey Advertising's MediaCom, New York. Western Initiative and TN Media also were finalists. A decision on the creative review is expected in mid-March. Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago, previously handled creative and media.
Arbitration panel rejects IPG claim against Sloves
The American Arbitration Association rejected a breach of contract claim brought by Interpublic Group of Cos. against Marvin Sloves, the former chairman of Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York. Interpublic accused Mr. Sloves of steering the Mercedes-Benz USA account from Lowe to Merkley Newman Harty in February 1999. The panel called Interpublic's case "unpersuasive" and "credibly contradicted" after a yearlong investigation. The panel also ruled in favor of Mr. Sloves' counterclaim that Interpublic had breached its consultant contract with him. The panel awarded Mr. Sloves the full compensation of his contract (two years at $650,000 per year plus benefits), plus ordered Interpublic to pay Mr. Sloves' arbitration expenses.
GM dealers press court fights against ad setup
An attorney for General Motors Corp. dealers in Indiana is hopeful a U.S. District judge in Indianapolis will rule this month whether their case against the carmaker can be certified as a class action. The dealers sued GM last April, trying to block the carmaker from eliminating dealers' regional ad groups. GM took control April 1 of regional advertising formerly handled by the dealer groups, which spent $600 million annually. In a similar suit in Illinois, GM dealers have appealed a recent refusal by a U.S. District judge in Chicago to grant them a preliminary injunction stopping GM from continuing the new regional ad system.
Carmaker forces Jeep agency switch in Calif.
DaimlerChrysler forced California's Jeep dealers to break off a 14-year relationship with RNF Media, Beverly Hills, Automotive News reported. FCB Media, the Troy, Mich., media buyer that already bought ads for Chrysler and Plymouth in California, was given responsibility for Jeep as well on Jan. 1. FCB also handles media buying for Chrysler, Plymouth and Jeep dealers in every other state. Some California Jeep dealers said the switch will mean fewer commercials and less effective advertising. "It's definitely a power play by the manufacturer. We should be bidding multiple [media buyers] and getting an outside consultant to measure it," said Jeep dealer Jamie Kopf. A DaimlerChrysler spokesman cited philosophical differences for the switch.
Also . . .
Toyota Motor Sales USA's Toyota Division said agency of record Saatchi & Saatchi, Torrance, Calif., will team up with Oasis Advertising, New York, for the ad launch of the all-new Prius hybrid gas-electric sedan. Steve Sturm, VP-marketing at Toyota, cited Oasis' Prius creative for Toyota Motor Corporate Services of North America (AA, Jan. 31) and Saatchi's "unparalleled media placement and strategic integration capabilities." Prius goes on sale in mid-2000. . . . Best Western International on Feb. 14 launched its largest-ever campaign, a $20 million effort highlighting the hotel chain's wide reach. BBDO Worldwide, San Francisco, handles. . . . Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio will work together with manufacturers to create a standardized satellite radio capable of receiving both companies' signals. Until the agreement was announced, both companies had aligned themselves with car and electronics manufacturers to create separate radios. The first generation of radios, however, will remain specific for a certain network.