VS Sassoon to exit U.S., Canada stores
Procter & Gamble Co. will discontinue its VS Sassoon hair-care brand in the U.S. and Canada in February amid falling sales and a barrage of competitive entries. The brand, which Richardson-Vicks began to sell under license from stylist Vidal Sassoon 26 years ago and P&G acquired in 1985, will continue to be sold overseas. Since an attempt at an upscale positioning in 2000, VS Sassoon has lost more than 75% of its U.S. sales, and has had no media support for a year. Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles U.S. advertising. A P&G spokeswoman termed the discontinuation "stepping back to explore how best to leverage the Vidal Sassoon heritage." AdAge.com QwikFIND aao34k
Duracell cuts prices, hopes to boost sales
Gillette co. will try to put a charge back into its long-troubled Duracell battery business by cutting the price of its category-leading AA and AAA alkaline batteries by 13%. Gillette also said it plans to cut spending on off-price retail promotions but increase spending on its "Trusted Everywhere" TV campaign by Acme Idea Co., Norwalk, Conn. In a statement, Gillette Chairman-CEO James Kilts said the company needs to reduce the price gap with competitors Energizer Co. and Rayovac Corp. Duracell revenues are expected to decline by mid-single digits in 2003 because of the price cuts, the company said, but profits will remain about flat with 2002 as unspecified cost cuts, combined with reduced promotion spending, make up for lower prices. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao34L
Burnett gets Royal Philips
Royal Philips Electronics last week shifted an estimated $250 million in ad duties for its domestic appliance and personal care, medical systems and lighting divisions to Publicis network Leo Burnett Worldwide. The account was previously handled by D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, which was absorbed into Publicis following the acquisition of D'Arcy's former parent, Bcom3 Group. Included in the shift are Philips lighting and Norelco electric shaver businesses, previously handled by D'Arcy, New York, and oral care company Sonicare, previously at D'Arcy's Los Angeles office. Barry Jones, global client managing director on the brand at D'Arcy, London, will continue to lead the account at Burnett, with staff in Chicago and Hong Kong, including some from the original D'Arcy team, along with sibling units Arc, Masius and Manning Selvage & Lee. Burnett is currently offering posts to D'Arcy staffers and is undecided on the total team headcount. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao35e, aao35b
AAF Hall of Fame inductees named
The American Advertising Federation will induct five into the Advertising Hall of Fame on March 18, two posthumously: David Sarnoff , chairman-president of RCA; and Dave Thomas, founder, Wendy's International. The other inductees are: Hall "Cap" Adams Jr., retired chairman-CEO, Publicis' Leo Burnett Co., who championed integrated services; Phil Dusenberry, former chairman, Omnicom Group's BBDO North America, BBDO's guiding creative light for over two decades; John H. Johnson, publisher and chairman, Johnson Publishing Company, pioneer of African American consumer marketing and founder of Ebony and Jet. The Advertising Hall of Fame began in 1948, and since then 162 individuals, including this year's honorees, have been elected, including Leo Burnett, Jay Chiat and David Ogilvy.
Interpublic Group of Cos. confirmed Advertising Age's Dec. 30 story that it hired Goldman Sachs "to explore strategic alternatives" for market-research venture NFO WorldGroup, as expected (AA, Dec. 30). The embattled agency company also said lenders agreed to extend a deadline for amending major credit terms from Jan. 15 to Feb. 10. It's conceivable Interpublic could announce a sale of NFO before then to show lenders how much cash it is raising to reduce its $2.9 billion debt, now one step above junk status. Interpublic bought NFO near the peak of the market three years ago, paying $493 million in stock and adding $180 million in debt. NFO, the biggest of 96 acquisitions Interpublic made in 2000, likely will sell for significantly less given a weak market. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao35k. ... Burger King Corp.'s new CEO, Bradley Blum, named Robert T. Nilsen president. Mr. Nilsen, 43, was chief operating officer of Yum Brand's Taco Bell Corp. He joins Burger King Feb. 3. Before joining Taco Bell in early 2000, Mr. Nilsen spent 12 years with Yum Brands. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao35c. ... Northlich, Cincinnati, promoted two executives to president, reporting directly to Chairman-CEO Mark Serrianne. Rick Miller, formerly director of integrated services, becomes agency president. Jeff Dufresne, formerly director of Northlich's BrandStorm brand and new-product consulting unit, becomes president.