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WorldCom rivals reassure in ads

Worldcom's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week has sent telecom rivals scrambling to mop up any customer churn they can get. Struggling AT&T Corp. bought full-page ads in major newspapers touting itself as a trusted communications brand with loyal employees. The ads, created by WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, urged consumer and business customers to choose AT&T. WorldCom's MCI consumer brand continues to run TV ads by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York, for The Neighborhood, its consumer calling proposition. An MCI spokeswoman declined to discuss whether or not creative in the near-term would seek to reassure consumers. BellSouth Corp. took advantage of the WorldCom roiling breaking a series of TV ads by Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York, in nine states, to reassure customers of its staying power. Sprint Corp.'s plans could not be determined. Company spokespeople did not return calls. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan82a

IBM unleashes new campaign

Ibm corp. today unfurls a new phase of its "Play to Win" ad campaign touting its expertise in partnering with specific industries including retail, financial services, banking and automotive. Ads appear today in Dow Jones & Co.'s Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Co.'s New York Times and The Detroit Free Press. The campaign also includes print ads in trade publications, outdoor and online marketing via Web sites within ibm.com. The campaign, created by WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, siblings MindShare on media and OgilvyOne for online, runs through the end of the year in the U.S., and is slated to break in Europe in September. Spending was not disclosed. The telecom, life-sciences and government sectors are the next industries targeted in the U.S. "We are demonstrating our deep industry understanding of our customers' business issues, and the ability to apply this insight into e-business solutions today," said Ron Greenberg, VP-global industry marketing, IBM.

Burger King finds a new owner

Diageo last week agreed to sell Burger King Corp. for $2.26 billion to a consortium comprising Texas Pacific Group, investment firm Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. Fort Worth, Texas-based Texas Pacific is known for buying and reforming distressed companies and its current holdings include Oxford Health Plans, Ducati Motor and J. Crew. Two executives close to Burger King said Diageo had originally hoped to sell the Miami fast-food enterprise for at least $2.5 billion. Diageo in March said it would consider options to dispose of the burger chain as it converted its entire portfolio to more profitable premium alcoholic beverages. Burger King CEO John Dasburg and the executive team will remain to continue the turnaround effort for an unspecified term, the company said. "We're all staying, as are our agencies," said Burger King Chief Global Marketing Officer Chris Clouser. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan81s

Trust explores Hershey sale

The hershey Trust Co., which controls roughly one-third of the U.S. confection business, will explore the possible sale of the candy marketer. The Trust said the decision comes not from its dissatisfaction with company management, including new President-CEO Rick Lenny, but from its interest in diversifying the assets of the Trust, which is the trustee of the Milton Hershey School for needy children. According to Merrill Lynch analyst Leonard Teitelbaum, the possible auction would likely fetch a transaction value of $13 billion to $15 billion, making it the largest food-company acquisition since Kraft Foods' acquisition of Nabisco for $14.9 billion. Because of Hershey's 31% share of the U.S. confectionery market, he said, "companies such as Kraft, Nestle, PepsiCo and Cadbury-Schweppes could possibly be among the bidders of the potential Hershey sale in order to gain leadership in the U.S. snack market." AdAge.com QwikFIND aan81u

Anti-tobacco forces use ads to lobby

As the senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee prepares for tomorrow's hearing on a bill advocating FDA regulation of tobacco, the anti-tobacco camp hopes the ad campaign it sponsored last week will urge Congress to vote in favor of the legislation. A print ad, from GMMB, Washington, appeared in Washington papers last week. It featured a girl with a cigarette in her hand and claimed the tobacco industry repeatedly deceived the public with statements such as "nicotine is not addictive" and "we will not market to kids." The call to action: "We need FDA regulation of tobacco because Big Tobacco just won't quit." Thirty-five health groups sponsored the ad campaign, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan81e

FYI...

Young & rubicam named William Eccleshare, a consultant at McKinsey & Co. in London, to run Y&R Advertising in Europe, succeeding Etienne Boisrond, who retires this year. He will also assume the new role of chairman-CEO of the Y&R/ Wunderman Alliance, representing a closer relationship between the two companies. Last December in Asia, Y&R gave two Dentsu Young & Rubicam executives the titles of Alliance co-chairmen and combined Y&R and Wunderman offices in some countries. In the U.S., Y&R's office in Irvine, Calif., already combines multiple disciplines including advertising, direct marketing and public relations, under one roof, but other offices do not. "We are always thinking about how we are organized, but we're under no immediate obligation to make a change in the U.S.," said Michael J. Dolan, chairman of Y&R. ... Interpublic's DraftWorldwide added new accounts to its Chicago and New York rosters. Draft, Chicago, was named direct agency of record for H&R Block's e-solutions software publishing group. Its New York sibling won direct-marketing duties for health-insurance provider CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan81j

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