The Week

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America Online: You've got Pittman

Last week shares of AOL Time Warner, the world's largest media company, hit $20, their lowest level since November 1998. The low came as Barry Schuler, chairman-CEO of the company's America Online unit, stepped aside to lead the Digital Services Development Group, a new unit within AOL. Robert Pittman, chief operating officer-elect of AOL Time Warner, takes on day-to-day management of America Online. His top priority will be to fix the Internet unit's sagging ad-sales operations. Also last week, radio veteran Jimmy de Castro, 47, was named president of AOL Interactive Services, and was tapped to develop digital music and radio services. AOL Time Warner reports its first quarter earnings April 24. QwikFIND aan35y

IBM `Plays to Win' with new push

Ibm corp. kicks off a round of print ads today in its just-launched "Play to win" global campaign. Ads in newspapers and business magazines tout how IBM services help customers such as L.L. Bean and Bank of America cut costs and improve online businesses. The campaign, by WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, launched April 9 with an eight-page insert in Dow Jones & Co.'s redesigned Wall Street Journal. While the multimillion-dollar push extends IBM's long-running e-business theme, it represents the first time Big Blue has pooled ad dollars of its server, software, storage and global services businesses to deliver an integrated message. The PC division is not included in the umbrella effort, but may participate later. The marketer declined to specify spending on the campaign, but a spokeswoman said 70% of IBM's global budget is earmarked for the second, third and fourth quarters. IBM spent $314 million in measured media in the U.S. for 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. QwikFIND aan35w

Mitsubishi taps Deutsch in Canada

Interpublic group of Cos.' Deutsch waded into global waters last week with the opening of a Toronto office to service Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada. Deutsch was named as the division's first agency of record after a review involving undisclosed contenders. Mitsubishi will start selling cars in Canada in September with at least 50 dealers, and hopes to sell 20,000 vehicles. Ad spending is expected to reach $25 million in 2003 and to grow with sales. Deutsch's Toronto office will be manned by locals, although some staff from Deutsch, Los Angeles, will offer help. Deutsch will open a smaller, four-person office in predominantly French-speaking Montreal. The agency's new offices are expected to be operational in May. "This first entree outside of the U.S. is a reflection of the agency's philosophy to grow beyond the U.S. based on clients' needs," said Deutsch Chief Operating Officer Linda Sawyer. QwikFIND aan36d

Qwest's agency quest ends at DDB

In a move expected to save it $9 million in annual fees, Qwest Communications International consolidated its $100 million account with Omnicom Group's DDB Chicago. The win comes amid a formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Qwest's accounting practices, and as Qwest stock fell to an all time low. DDB, one of Qwest's incumbent agencies, beat Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, New York. DDB handled retail and local market advertising and QwestDex yellow pages for the Englewood, Colo.-based voice and data services company. Last month, the second incumbent, WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, which handled the corporate and business account, withdrew its bid. DDB will create a Chicago-based virtual-ad unit, DDBQ, that will have field support in Denver and Phoenix to service the business. Tom Cotton, president of DDB Ventures, New York, will head the new entity as general manager. Other Omnicom units that will work on the Qwest account include 121 Communications, New York, to handle direct ; and Integer Group, Denver and Phoenix. QwikFIND aan36j

Sharpton files suit for minority shops

Johnnie cochran is preparing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, alleging ad agencies and the federal government colluded to cut fees paid to minority-owned ad shops. The suit is in response to conflicts between Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and its minority subcontractors on the U.S. Army ad account. Cartel Group, a Hispanic shop based in San Antonio, and Images USA, Atlanta, contend Burnett has not paid them their government-mandated share of the $95 million business. "There is no equality in advertising," said Charles Ogletree, a Harvard University professor, adding the amount of money spent on minority advertising has a direct relationship to the amount of minority programming on the air. "We have to take action. And if means bringing pain, well, Al Sharpton knows how to give pain," he said. QwikFIND aan35v


Mccann-erickson WorldGroup promoted Hank Wasiak, 58, to vice-chairman from worldwide account director on Nestle. Mr. Wasiak, who moves to New York from London, will work on key global clients across advertising and other WorldGroup marketing-services businesses. He will be succeeded on Nestle by Joop Broeren, 44, McCann's area director for Northern Europe. ... Dennis Publishing rejiggered top management at three of its four titles. Carolyn Kremins, 40, formerly group publisher of Maxim, moves into thegroup publisher position at The Week and picks up its publisher duties from General Manager Justin Smith, 32, who will stay on in his current position and to whom Ms. Kremins will report. Ms. Kremins will be replaced at Maxim by Jamie Hooper, 34, group publisher of Stuff. Mr. Hooper's Stuff position will be assumed by Stuff General Manager Mark MacDonald, 46.

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