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The federal Trade Commission won legal authority and $16 million to implement a "do-not-call" list from Congress last week as part of congressional passage of an omnibus appropriations bill. Both were included after House leaders reversed course on a plan to give the authority in separate legislation, a move some angry senators and consumer groups warned would delay the list's implementation. The FTC wants to create the list quickly to allow consumers to sign up within four months. Marketers would be expected to use it two or three months later. Both the Direct Marketing Association and the American Teleservices Association have filed lawsuits challenging the FTC's authority to act and the list's constitutionality. QwikFIND aao43e

Poor showing for Havas, Publicis

In spite of signs of improvement in North America, French ad agency companies Havas and Publicis Groupe both posted revenue drops for 2002. Havas reported revenues of $2.15 billion for 2002, down 7.7% from 2001, or a drop of 5.8% on an organic basis, after adjusting for acquisitions and the effects of currency. For the fourth quarter, revenue of $556.7 million was 6.7% below the same period in 2001 on an organic basis. Traditional advertising appeared to recover slightly in the fourth quarter, when it was flat to the year-ago period, down only 0.2%, while marketing services and media revenue dropped 10.4%. For the year, traditional advertising revenue dropped 8.9% and marketing and media revenue dropped 6.9%. Publicis reported $3.14 billion in 2002 revenue, a 20.2% increase mainly due to its acquisition of Bcom3 Group. QwikFIND aao43f, aao43q

USPS promotes its Priority Mail

The first creative work for the U.S. Postal Service from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., breaks today. The print and network TV campaign uses a running clock to promote Priority Mail and delivery confirmation. Interpublic's Draft-Worldwide, Chicago, handles the direct-mail campaign, while Initiative Media handles media buying. The Postal Service spends $99 million for marketing but part of the total is for non-media spending.

`Millionaire' and `Idol' boost Fox

The fox network plans to shift the start of the fall season to late summer to plug up holes on its schedule left by the post-season baseball playoffs, said Peter Chernin, president of Fox parent News Corp. Mr. Chernin told analysts the plans will not affect upfront sales, at least initially. News Corp. posted improved results in its second fiscal quarter, thanks to its film performance and better ad sales at its TV networks. Revenues of $4.7 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31 were up 14% from a year earlier, and net income of $239 million was up from a loss of $606 million in the year-ago period, which reflected a $909 write-down of the value of sports contracts. The success of "American Idol" and "Joe Millionaire" lifted the Fox network's ratings and allowed it to firm up pricing, Mr. Chernin said. QwikFIND aao43p

IPG shifts BofA over to Deutsch

Bank of america has split its account, worth more than $180 million, between Interpublic Group of Cos. siblings Deutsch and Gotham. Deutsch was also appointed media agency of record, although an executive with knowledge of the move said media buying will be handled by Interpublic's Magna Global. Peter Gardiner, partner-chief media officer at Deutsch, said his agency will do the buying, but "will involve Magna in some way." Bank of America will keep its longtime Hispanic agency, Houston-based Lopez Negrete Communications. WPP's Kang & Lee, New York, an Asian-American agency, and UniWorld, New York, in which WPP has a 49% stake, lose their business. UniWorld's African-American assignment is expected to move to Carol H. Williams, an independent agency. Bill Imada, chairman-CEO of IW Group, an Interpublic-backed Asian-American agency, said the shop will try to sidestep a conflict with its work for Washington Mutual, perhaps by starting a separate shop for Bank of America. The account was previously handled by Interpublic's Bozell, New York, which is slated to merge with sibling Lowe in the coming months, according to executives familiar with the plans. Media was handled by Starcom, a unit of Publicis QwikFIND aao43s

Clorox shifts to trade promotion

Clorox co. plans to shift spending from media advertising to trade promotion for its flagship bleach products next quarter, but it still plans to spend more on media and non-coupon promotion overall for both the quarter and the full year. Clorox bleach has lost market share to private label and oxygen additives, such as Orange Glo International's Oxi Clean and Clorox's own Oxygen Action. Still, Clorox sales rose 4.4% to $926 million in the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31 as net earnings soared 82% to 40 cents a share on non-advertising cost cuts. Clorox ad spending soared 36% to $104 million in the quarter. Sales grew two percentage points ahead of unit volume with improved efficiency in its trade promotion spending. QwikFIND aao43c

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