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AstraZeneca goes to Publicis, WPP

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca plans to keep its premier product-prescription heartburn medication Nexium-with Publicis Groupe's Klemtner Advertising, New York, as part of a consolidation of its creative accounts at Publicis Groupe and WPP Group shops. An AstraZeneca spokeswoman declined to name the specific agencies. AstraZeneca spent more than $192 million in measured media on Nexium last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. "As part of an in-depth review of a number of critical corporate activities, we saw an opportunity to consolidate our agency business in a way that will create closer management relationships and develop strong shared-risk-based partnerships," Tony Zook, AstraZeneca's senior VP-commercial operations, said in a statement. Grey Global Group and Interpublic Group of Cos.' will continue with two previously awarded assignments. Grey will launch the cholesterol-lowering Crestor, and an unnamed Interpublic agency will handle the lung-cancer drug Iressa. AstraZeneca also named Edelman to work on PR assignments for four new drugs. The agency already works on AstraZeneca's Crestor and Galida brands.

Punchline scores for Chivas Regal

Direct-marketing veteran Neil Fox, who in 1998 sold his agency, Fox-Pavlika, to Interpublic, has a new venture: New York-based Punchline Network, begun in Dec. 2002 with four partners. The company has an exclusive agreement with Conde Nast Publications' The New Yorker subsidiary, the Cartoon Bank, to use cartoons from its 85,000-plus collection for weekly e-mail marketing campaigns. Punchline's first customer, Pernod Ricard USA, has since last December sent weekly e-mails to 100,000 consumers on behalf of its Chivas Regal brand. "We wanted a way to connect with our most loyal users in a viral way," said Mark Schulte, Pernod's director-relationship marketing and sales promotion, "and to involve them with the brand."

UPS overhauls logo and image

United parcel Service commissioned seven fresh spots from Interpublic's The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. as part of a massive corporate rebranding initiative which will introduce new colors to packaging alongside its trademark brown. The Atlanta-based company hired FutureBrand, also owned by Interpublic, to come up with a new logo. The old string bow tie, which has endured for the past 40 years, was dropped in favor of a more modern logo.

Coors pushes Hispanic effort

Coors brewing Co. this year turns more attention to the Latino market. The country's No. 3 brewer devoted a good portion of podium time to the issue at its annual convention last week in San Diego, according to attendees, and unveiled nine Hispanic spots from its new agency, Bromley Communications in San Antonio. Longtime shop Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, led the handling of more than 20 spots, including five aimed at Latinos. Sibling Deutsch, Los Angeles, had two general market ads for Coors Light, while Havas' Arnold Wordwide in Boston had three for Coors Original. Media spending is expected to remain the same as last year, when Coors spent $200 million. QwikFIND aao54y

Magazines warn of impact of FTC list

Publishers say new Federal Trade Commission telemarketing rules due to take effect today could cost them as much $870 million in subscription revenues while telemarketers say the impact could be just as significant on other marketers. The Direct Marketing Association's attempt to temporarily block the rules was rejected by an Oklahoma City judge last week. Rules that require marketers to tape calls, ask for credit card numbers again when offering unrelated merchandise and to limit the number of calls they make and can't handle if too many people answer all take effect today, with "do not call" changes taking effect later this year. QwikFIND aao54t

Publicis shops cut staff, delay raises

Publicis' starcom usa, Chicago, laid off 20 employees, or less than 4% of its staff, following the loss of the $170 million Bank of America account. The move was characterized by company officials as a cost-management decision. Meanwhile, sibling agency Leo Burnett USA informed employees they would not receive merit raises until November, said Bob Brennan, Leo Burnett's president of North America. Burnett employees did receive a planned bonus on March 19 that had been pushed back from March 15 for tax reasons, according to the company. QwikFIND aao54s


Gap inc. named a new top marketing executive for its Banana Republic division. Jack Calhoun was named exec VP-marketing, replacing Amy Schoening, who resigned. Ms. Schoening was once Gap Inc.'s chief marketing officer under former CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler. New CEO Paul Pressler recently told analysts he'd like to change top marketing leadership at all the divisions. Mr. Calhoun was exec VP-brand management and advertising at Charles Schwab. QwikFIND aao54v . ... DirecTV, El Segundo, Calif., awarded its $6 million U.S. Hispanic account to the Vidal Partnership, an independent Hispanic agency in New York, according to an executive close to the situation. Vidal competed for the business against incumbent Casanova Pendrill, Irvine, Calif., which is 49% owned by the Interpublic; and Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, backed by Omnicom. QwikFIND aao54r.

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