The Week

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The U.S. Olympic Committee is reassuring marketing partners after discontent surfaced last week from a major sponsor and the concern of at least one USOC official. Sponsors such as Anheuser Busch's Budweiser, McDonald's Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. are so far staying out of the fracas initiated when John Hancock Financial Services CEO-Chairman David D'Alessandro blasted the USOC's executive churn and lack of financial accountability. But one USOC member told Ad Age: "Frankly, I'm concerned about the image we're portraying with all these problems and hoping we don't lose the key sponsors who have been generous in helping our athletes." Five USOC officials have resigned since Jan. 20, when the executive committee decided not to take any action against current CEO Lloyd Ward, accused of trying to get an Olympic-related contract steered toward his brother's company. A USOC spokesman said it had "weathered similar storms." Sponsors-including Visa USA and AllState- said they are monitoring the situation.

Bozell's Granger moves to Saatchi

Bozell, the former True North agency network whittled down to a single location following its purchase by Interpublic Group of Cos., has lost a key player behind the New York shop's recent creative renaissance. Tony Granger, who joined Bozell in 2001 as executive creative director-managing partner, and led it to win more print Lions at Cannes last summer than any other U.S. agency, is on his way to London. On April 2, he takes the post of executive creative director, Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, replacing David Droga, now worldwide executive creative director, Publicis Worldwide. David Nobay, a five-year Bozell veteran, most recently managing partner-deputy executive creative director, replaces Mr. Granger. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao37f

McD's obesity suit dismissed by judge

Advertising lawyers expressed relief over a judge's quick dismissal of a lawsuit charging McDonald's Corp. with trying to addict kids to fast food, warning that further proceedings could have brought an outpouring of similar suits. New York Federal Judge Robert W. Sweet, in rejecting the lawsuit, said the case "did not identify a single instance of deceptive acts" by McDonald's. Plaintiffs claimed some ad campaigns suggesting visiting McDonald's every day and a Web-site statement that the chain "can be part of any balanced diet and lifestyle" were misleading. The plaintiffs, the judge said, did not prove that consumers weren't aware that eating too many burgers would lead to weight gain and without that, there's no evidence consumers were misled. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao37g

Randy Newman looks again at Ford

Oscar-winner Randy Newman sings an original song he composed about Ford Motor Co.'s Ford brand in a campaign that broke nationally Jan. 26 on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC. The umbrella tagline, "If you haven't looked at a Ford lately, look again," is a line in Mr. Newman's song. The marketer called the line a contemporary version of the brand's "Have you driven a Ford lately?" which ran from 1982 until early 1998. All new vehicle ads will carry the tagline, which arrives in print Feb. 3. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, handles. The line replaces "No Boundaries," which broke in fall 1999 for Ford's sport utility lineup. Ford brand spent $675 million in measured media in the first 10 months of 2002, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao37i

Airlines' ad plan defies U.S. wishes

The U.S. Department of Transportation is on a collision course with Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines over plans for joint marketing of flights and some services. The department joined with the Justice Department to approve the limited joint marketing pact subject to certain conditions. However, the airlines said some of the conditions, including limits on code sharing and corporate travel discounts and requirements to give up gates, would put them "at a competitive disadvantage" and go beyond restrictions imposed on a similar agreement between United Airlines and U.S. Airways. Therefore, the airlines said they would go forward with their plans, but ignore the conditions.The two U.S. departments vowed to carry out enforcement action against the three carriers. The joint-marketing pact allows the three airlines to share some frequent-flier lounges, credit each other frequent-flier miles, and sell some flights together. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao36x

FYI...

Sarah Pettit, a Newsweek arts and leisure senior editor who earlier in her career helped launch Out magazine, died Jan. 22 after suffering complications related to lymphoma. She was 36. ... Toyota Motor Sales USA selected Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia Group as the media agency for the Toyota division's new Scion sub-brand after a review, according to an executive who asked not to be named. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao36z ... AOL Time Warner is seeking a buyer for its its book publishing division. The sale can help the company pay down some of the debt that came with America Online's acquisition of Time Warner. The book division includes Little, Brown & Company and Warner Books...Lippincott & Margulies merged with sister firm Mercer Management Consulting to form Lippincott Mercer.

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