When the screen actors Guild members voted not to approve a new Agency Franchise Agreement on April 19, it inadvertently opened the way for advertising agencies and advertisers to purchase equity stakes in talent agencies. The previous agreement expired Jan. 20 and was extended by both parties until the result of the ballot referendum process was completed. Part of that agreement would have allowed ad agencies or advertisers to own up to 20% of talent agencies. (Talent agencies-represented by the Association of Talent Agents-pushed for the change to help agencies compete financially with managers and other executives representing talent, as well as restrictive talent fees.) No new talks are scheduled between SAG and ATA. To add to the confusion, the national board of the smaller American Federation of Television-Radio Artists approved the new agency franchise agreement. About 30,000 of AFTRA's 80,000 members are also SAG members. SAG, which has 98,000 members, is the actors' union for high-profile theatrical films and filmed TV sitcoms. Ironically, now that ad agencies can technically buy into talent agencies, many ad agency executives believe that kind of investment is ill-advised at this time given all the uncertainty. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan41c
Unilever pushes core brands
Unilever bestfoods' is forging ahead with its strategy to focus on core brands with the launch this week of a Hellmann's mayonnaise TV effort, the first work from new agency of record, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe, New York, and the first ad campaign for the brand in more than a year. The campaign features humorous situations depicting the irresistibility of the brand along with the tagline, "Hellmann's at its best," (a divergence from the longtime, "Bring out the Hellmann's, bring out the best.") The effort follows the sale this week of non-core brands including Mazola and Argo corn starch to ACH Food Cos., a unit of Associated British Foods, for $360 million, which paves the way for increased spending for Hellmann's and other brands such as Lipton and Bertolli. Unilever last year announced it would divest non-core brands to concentrate on its top 400 brands globally.
Florida cries Sunny deception at P&G
Procter & Gamble co.'s Sunny Delight is really "sunny deception" the Florida's Department of Citrus charged, accusing P&G of misleading consumers through marketing, advertising Web sites and grocery-store shelf placement that the product is a juice and unveiling a survey to back up its charge. The state, which established a www.sunnydeception.org Web site, said P&G was marketing the product as a fruit juice, though it contains only 5% juice, and warned that a lawsuit and a Federal Trade Commission would be next if more juice isn't added to the product. P&G denied it was misleading consumers and said Sunny Delight is positioned against soft drinks and youth-oriented fruit drinks, not against orange juice. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan41z
Shops align for Chrysler review
Chrysler group last week named five finalists for its $40 million urban-marketing review. Incumbent GlobalHue, Southfield, Mich., in which Interpublic Group of Cos. holds a stake, will defend. The others formed alliances that cross holding companies: Array, all New York shops consisting of Footsteps (Omnicom Group), Admerasia (inked a non-equity deal in '01 to join Bcom3 Group's Pangea) and Hispan/America LLC; Cooperative, all New York independents, which includes The A Partnership, LaFina Creativa, a new unit of ConceptFarm and African-American-owned PFI Marketing; PASS Urban Powertrain, all independents made up of PASS, a partnership of Peter Arnell and recording executive Steve Stoute and L3 Advertising, New York; Hispanic specialist Cultura, Dallas, a unit of Grupo Samba and Osmosis Media Lab; and SIP: Publicis, Sanchez & Levitan, Miami, Imada Wong Communications Group, Los Angeles (Interpublic) and Prime Access, New York. The automaker said it expects to make a decision by June 1. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan41u
Gap taps top talent for latest campaign
Gap launched its latest campaign, this time tapping Hollywood directors for three black and white spots. The spots, from directors Cameron Crowe and the Coen brothers and Roman Coppola, back the Gap's summer line of denim, khakis and classic white shirts. Mr. Crowe's first stint at directing a TV ad is titled "Denim Invasion," and features Kate Beckinsale and Orlando Bloom. The Coen brothers' spot, "Two White Shirts," has Dennis Hopper and Christina Ricci playing a game of chess. Mr. Coppola's spot, "Down on Khaki Street," turns an empty urban street into a summer playground. Lisa Prisco, creative director behind the Gap's "Khakis Swing" spots, created the campaign. The struggling Gap, under pressure from Wall Street to stem a 22-consecutive-month slide in same-store sales, has contracted with a new advertising agency, Trey Laird & Partners, New York, in the hopes of staging a rebound by fall. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan42g
Sears, roebuck and co. named roster shop WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Chicago, as agency for its Covington line of apparel and accessories. The line, with items ranging from $10 children's tops to $60 men's boots, will launch for back to school. Advertising budget was undecided at this time, a spokeswoman said, but ads will continue to use the tagline, "Where else?"... Anheuser-Busch Cos. named Patrick Stokes, 59, CEO-president. He succeeds August Busch III, 64, who continues as chairman. ... Yahoo!, Sunnyvale, Calif., named Daniel Rosensweig, 41, chief operating officer. He replaces Jeff Mallett, who announced his resignation in January. ... The executive committee of the Interactive Advertising Bureau named Greg Stuart permanent president-CEO . Prior to the appointment, Mr. Stuart, 42, served for seven months as the IAB's interim president-CEO.