The Week

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IPG, Omnicom executive decisions

Frank lowe, chairman of the Lowe Group and Octagon divisions of Interpublic Group of Cos., will retire Jan. 2, 2003, according to the company's proxy statement. Mr. Lowe will act as a consultant to Lowe Group for one year, subject to renewal and will have the title non-executive chairman. The proxy statement also noted Interpublic's chairman-CEO, John J. Dooner Jr. received a bonus of $500,000 for 2001, 66.7% below the previous year. McCann-Erickson WorldGroup Chairman James Heekin received a one-time payout of $750,000 to adjust his incentive payments for the years 1997 to 2001, when he rose from president of McCann-Erickson North America to his current position. In Omnicom Group's proxy statement, the compensation committee agreed to make annual payments for up to 10 years to BBDO Worldwide Chairman-CEO Allen Rosenshine, Omnicom President-CEO John Wren, Omnicom Vice-Chairman Peter Mead, Diversified Agency Services, Chairman-CEO Thomas Harrison and DDB Chairman-CEO Keith Reinhard in exchange for non-compete agreements. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan38n

Beer guys ballistic over terror spots

Take an ad suggesting that doing illegal drugs can lead to terrorism and add the word "beer" and what do you get? As the Office of National Drug Control Policy discovered, some very angry beer wholesalers and brewers. "We have a plan to take heads for this. We will skin people alive," David Rehr, president, National Beer Wholesalers Association. The ad was created by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather and reads "Last night, I met the guys for beers, went out for dinner and helped gun down 21 men, women and children." Beer Institute President Jeff Becker said the ad sought to make a connection between alcohol and illicit drugs that shouldn't be made. The White House drug office said that was not the intent, but that the ad was one of several showing how illegal drugs could finance terrorism. "We think it is not being seen in the context to which it was meant," said Alan Levitt, director of the drug office ad program. Mr. Rehr intends to meet with drug office officials. "I can't think of all the money they're wasting on this insane, self-absorbed campaign," he said. "My 3-year-old son could do a better ad."

Zenith: Spending will drop further

The ad recovery is not coming along as expected, according to an updated forecast from Zenith Optimedia Group. Forecasters at the London-based media buyer-a joint venture between Cordiant Communications Group and Publicis Groupe-revised ad spending estimates for the world's top seven ad markets to a drop of 1.9% this year, down from a drop of 0.7% predicted in December. Spending in the seven markets, representing 74% of the world's advertising volume, also shrank more than initially estimated, 5.4% vs. 4.7% estimated in December. In the U.S. market, Zenith's forecast calls for small increases in network and cable TV spending this year, as well as a recovery in radio and out-of-home spending. Print spending is not expected to improve until 2003, as marketers focus on broadcast buys. In dollar figures, U.S. spending will reach $133.6 billion, down 1.8% from $135 billion in 2001, but is expected to show an increase of 2% to $135.3 billion in 2003.

Botox goes to Grey

It will be up to Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide to craft a smooth marketing campaign for the anti-wrinkle treatment Botox. Days after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for cosmetic use, Grey snagged the estimated $50 million account. Expect a direct-to-consumer TV and print campaign for Botox in the next few months, according to an Allergan spokeswoman. MediaCom will handle media planning and buying and Grey Healthcare will implement the professional, direct and interactive marketing. AdAge.com QwikFIND aan38q

Star turns `Light' off on packages

Star tobacco will be the first cigarette manufacturer to take the word "light" off packages of low-tar styles, in response to research from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute that found smokers believe low-tar brands reduce cancer risks, despite lack of evidence to support that. The subsidiary of Star Scientific on May 1 will change labeling on its Vegas 100s style and intends to alter the packaging of all low-tar Vegas styles by Sept. 30. The Justice Department added to the debate last month by calling for stricter tobacco-marketing restrictions including the elimination of descriptors including "light" and "ultra light." None of the major cigarette makers have changed labeling.

`Parade' starts a conversation

Advance publications' Parade this week rolled out its first spot-TV and cable campaign in years. Based around the tagline "Parade is a conversation with America," the first market was New Orleans-where the Newspaper Association of America will hold its annual conference at the end of April -and on national cable nets CNN, MSNBC, Lifetime, TBS, and A&E. The newspaper magazine did not disclose spending on the campaign beyond pegging it above $1 million. The ads are expected to air for the next three months.

FYI...

Readers digest Association remade its stock structure on April 15 in a way that would greatly shrink the voting control of the Trusts that currently own 50% of its voting shares. The move does away with Class B shares with which the Wallace Reader's Digest Funds effectively control the company and will shrink the Funds' voting shares to around 14%. The moves were spurred in part by dissident shareholder Highfields Capital Management... Visa and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia were elected to the Marketing Hall of Fame, and will be inducted June 5 at the 34th annual Effie Awards,by the New York American Marketing Association.

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