TN 'REALIGNMENT' COSTS HIT FINANCIAL RESULTS HARD

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The costs of "realigning" the Bozell and Foote, Cone & Belding agencies hit home in the third quarter as parent True North Communications, Chicago, booked a $76.4 million charge, primarily to cover severance and real estate costs. The realignment of the two networks, announced in September, stripped Bozell Group of many of its international offices and added them to the new FCB Worldwide. The restructuring charge resulted in a $31.7 million loss for the quarter on revenue of $356.7 million, up 18%, and a $3.44 million loss for nine months, on revenue of $1.02 billion, up 11.5%, TN said. Without the charge and other unusual items, TN said net income would have been $17.9 million for the quarter, up from $13.2 million a year ago, and $43.86 million for nine months, up from $34.5 million a year ago.

Botway Group agrees to sell to Interpublic unit

Western Initiative Media Worldwide, the Interpublic Group of Cos. unit, has signed a letter of intent to acquire independent media buyer Botway Group, New York. Terms were not disclosed. The deal was expected (AA, Nov. 1). As first reported by Advertising Age in May, Western's primary interest in Botway is its $500 million-plus TV buying assignment from Unilever. However, the Unilever media account is now in review. Western was said to have agreed to pay Botway a certain price if it retains the Unilever business, and another, lower price if it loses Unilever.

Labatt USA launches ads for Lowenbrau

Labatt USA launches its first campaign for Lowenbrau with radio spots beginning today in San Diego. The ads feature Lowenbrau's former theme song, but sung in German. Outdoor broke last week in Los Angeles and will run through Dec. 15. One outdoor board for the beer, which had a new recipe when it was brewed domestically by Miller Brewing Co., reads: "Back to the original recipe. (Oh, like you don't regret anything you did in the '80s?)." Labatt USA on Oct. 1 took over handling the beer from Miller. The outdoor ads and radio spots, created by Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, go nationwide in February.

Smale set to step down from board of GM

John Smale, the former Procter & Gamble Co. chairman who brought brand management to General Motors Corp., will retire from the GM board next June. Mr. Smale, 72, led the 1992 boardroom coup that removed then-Chairman Robert Stempel, taking over himself as chairman from 1992-1996 and installing John Smith as CEO. Mr. Smith succeeded Mr. Smale as chairman.

2001 will be last year for Plymouth brand

DaimlerChrysler made Plymouth's long-rumored demise as a brand official, saying it will be discontinued at the end of the 2001 model year. It said resources will be reassigned to build the Chrysler brand globally. The Voyager and Grand Voyager minivans will become Chrysler-branded models in December, and the Plymouth Breeze will be dropped, said DaimlerChrysler President James Holden. The Plymouth Neon and Prowler will remain through 2001. Mr. Holden said the auto market is shifting toward brands with a strong international identity. FCB Worldwide, Southfield, Mich., handles both Chrysler and Plymouth.

Novell prepares global ad effort

Novell will kick off a $40 million global campaign in North America in January that highlights its expertise in directory-enabled solutions. The effort, via Y&R Advertising, San Francisco, will target the information technology audience with print and online advertising, along with one TV spot.

NAD urges changes in Brawny ads

The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said Fort James Corp. should modify its "grandmothers" TV ads for Brawny paper towels. Fort James is appealing the NAD decision to the National Advertising Review Board. Following a challenge filed by rival Procter & Gamble Co., the NAD found that the Brawny ads conveyed an overall superiority claim over P&G's Bounty towels that Fort James could not support. The NAD also found that several performance claims in the Brawny ads, from DDB Worldwide, New York, were substantiated.

Chapter 11 'only way' to solve AFE problems

"This was the only way we saw to reach some kind of closure," Time Inc. President-CEO Don Logan said last week following the voluntary bankruptcy filing by American Family Enterprises, the magazine subscription company and sweepstakes operator 50%-owned by Time Inc. "AFE has been under siege with lawsuits from numerous attorneys general, and it has meant that we've been operating the business with one arm tied behind our back," Mr. Logan said. The Oct. 29 filing is aimed at resolving AFE's pending litigation and strategically restructuring its finances and operations (AA, April 26). Time Inc. insiders said AFE's mounting legal liabilities and the fear that Time Inc. could by association become a target of lawsuits led to the Chapter 11 decision.

Toys 'R' Us launches e-commerce ads

The holiday toy wars heated up last week with the expected launch of a major advertising push by Toys "R" Us for online toy sales. The TV effort, from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, emphasizes the ease of using the Web to find toys as well as the benefit of being able to return the toys to the company's regular retail stores.

McD's cooking system will get low profile

McDonald's Corp.'s new cooking system will take a back seat in future TV ads to the new menu items the system makes possible, Larry Zwain, McDonald's senior VP-marketing, told Wall Street analysts at a biennial meeting at the chain's headquarters last week. The system, designed to improve food quality in the chain's 12,500 restaurants, will be chainwide shortly, and is to be the spark for a range of new product launches next year. First out are a new burger, the MBX, and two chicken sandwiches, the first national sandwich launches since 1996.

First Delta Shuttle TV spots take off

Delta Airlines said it would break the first TV commercial for its Delta Shuttle service on cable TV's MSG Sports Network during the telecast of the Nov. 6 New York Knicks-Cleveland Cavalier game. The shuttle spot is the first in a series created by Delta agency Leo Burnett USA, Delta said. Ad copy focuses on Delta's guaranteed seat policy. The ads will air in the Boston and New York markets and possibly expand to Washington.

Rougeot resigns as CEO at Coty U.S.

Jean-Andre Rougeot resigned as CEO of makeup and fragrance marketer Coty U.S. A company spokesman gave no reason for the departure, which was described as amicable. No successor was immediately named. Coty will initiate a search for a new CEO shortly, said the spokesman. In the interim, Coty's divisions will report to Peter Harf, chairman-CEO of parent Coty Inc.

Starwood launches $30 mil global campaign

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide launched a $30 million global campaign for its Sheraton brand Nov. 4 with ads in the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. The campaign from DDB Worldwide, New York, features the tagline "Who's taking care of you?" Aimed at business travelers, the campaign features children as lead characters. "Please press our mom's suit. She had to fly coach," one child says in a print ad. The effort rolls out in the U.S. and Canada this week and goes international in January

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