Taco Bell loses Chihuahua battle
A federal jury ordered Taco Bell to pay $30.2 million to a pair of impresarios who say they created the famed Chihuahua character that starred in ads for the chain. Taco Bell plans to appeal the decision that ended the five-year breach of contract dispute brought by partners Joseph Shields and Thomas Rinks. The partners contend the Yum Brands' chain stole the "Psycho Chihuahua" cartoon character they created in 1995 without paying any licensing fees. The two based the $30 million dollar claim on a percentage of the estimated $500 million spent over three years on the campaign. Yum Brands expects the plaintiffs to file for an estimated $5 million to $10 million in pre-judgement interest and will take a special charge of 6¢ per share in the second quarter ending June 16. While the company doesn't expect a material impact to its earnings, if it loses its appeal Yum Brands will pursue reimbursement from its insurance companies and agency Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day. See the spots: AdAge.com QwikFIND aao72u Read more: AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73x
Dunaway named CMO for Yahoo!
Yahoo! named Cammie Dunaway, 40, as its chief marketing officer. She spent the last 13 years at PepsiCo's Frito-Lay Co. managing a $3.5 billion product portfolio that includes the Doritos, Cheetos, Lays and Ruffles brands. Most recently VP-general manager of kids and teen brands, Ms. Dunaway is widely credited as an interactive champion, having channeled Doritos' 2002 Super Bowl media budget heavily into online marketing. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73s
Ban overruled on video games
Video games, even violent ones, can be a form of protected speech, a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals in Missouri ruled last week, overturning a St. Louis County ordinance. The judges also warned the claim of protecting children was insufficient to uphold the ban that did not allow minors to buy or rent violent video games. In a ruling that could affect congressional attempts to limit video games, the court also warned curbs aimed at kids were having an affect on adult behavior. A spokesman for the county said the ruling is being reviewed. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73p
Do-not-call sign-up starts
The Federal Trade Commission accelerated the timetable for phone registration for its national do-not-call list, bringing a complaint from the Direct Marketing Association. The FTC was to begin Web registration for the list in July, then follow weeks later with phone registration. Now it will begin Web registration July 1 and phone registration in the West the same day, with phone registration in the East opening a week later. The DMA said the FTC acted prematurely and the agency "jumped the gun" opening the door to bureaucratic duplication and consumer confusion. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73i
2004 Masters will be sponsor-free
Citing positive feedback from fans and healthy TV ratings, organizers of The Masters golf tournament said the event will again go commercial- and sponsor-free in 2004. "The response from our TV viewers about the ability to watch strictly golf was very positive," Augusta National Golf Club chairman William "Hootie" Johnson said. Viacom's CBS attracted 34.5 million viewers, the third-highest rating in Masters' history for a Sunday. Prior to this year's tournament, Mr. Johnson dropped three TV sponsors-Coca-Cola Co., Citigroup and IBM Corp.-to shield them from the controversy over the club's exclusion of women members. The sponsors were not a part of the latest decision. "We had no discussions with our past sponsors or any potential sponsors," a club spokesman said, adding that based on positive feedback, "the club decided The Masters would continue the commercial-free format for another year."
Coca-cola co. named Daniel P. Palumbo its chief marketing officer. He comes from Eastman Kodak Co., where he was a senior VP-president of the consumer imaging division. He replaces Steven Jones, who resigned in March. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73q. ...The American Advertising Federation named Carla Michelotti, exec VP-general counsel of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide, as AAF chairman and Jack Griffin, president-publisher of Advance Publications' Parade, as vice chair. ... The American Skiing Co. awarded its creative account to independent agency Via Group, Portland, Maine. An executive close to the situation estimated the value of the account to be $10 million. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao73t