The Week: Wal-Mart accused of false advertising

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Opposition group Wal-Mart Watch, crying foul over two of the retailer's TV spots that broke last week in Tucson, Ariz., and Omaha, Neb., said it will file a formal complaint of false advertising with the attorneys general in both states. The spot in question refers to an oft-touted statistic that the retailer's low prices save working families, on average, $2,300 a year. The group is also lobbying TV station managers to drop the ads, said Nu Wexler of the Washington-based coalition, which is backed by the Sierra Club and the Service Employees International Union. "That $2,300 figure is based on a study that [Wal-Mart] bought and paid for," said Mr. Wexler. The commercials were created by Washington-based Blue Worldwide, a division of Wal-Mart's PR firm, Edelman.

Centrillo quits FCB; DeNunzio to lead New York

just weeks before the newly merged Draft FCB Group was expected to announce its new management lineup, Steve Centrillo, CEO of FCB's New York office, left the agency. OgilvyOne veteran Peter DeNunzio will join Draft FCB as president of the New York office, effective Sept. 11.

Valassis sues Advo, claims false financial info

valassis communications sued to end its proposed $1.3 billion takeover of Advo, accusing the nation's largest direct-mail-media company of fraud. Valassis said in a statement that its complaint, filed in Delaware Chancery Court, accuses Advo of intentionally providing "materially false financial information" and withholding information at a time when its operating income was "materially off forecast." Advo in a statement dismissed the lawsuit as "baseless and without merit" and said it "can only surmise that Valassis' action is merely a smokescreen to hide the fact that Valassis is suffering from an extreme case of buyer's remorse."

MTV appoints Hank Close to president of ad sales

hank close's reward for battling through the toughest cable upfront since 2001? A president's title. Mr. Close was elevated to president-ad sales at Viacom's MTV Networks, the position formerly held by Larry Divney. Mr. Close will report into MTV Networks Chief Operating Officer Michael Wolf, who said in a statement: "Hank has skillfully mined new opportunities and championed innovative multiplatform solutions that helped MTVN outperform the market in this year's upfront."

Weinstein Co. enters cable with purchase of Ovation

weinstein co. is launching its first foray into cable TV, purchasing Ovation, an entertainment network in 5 million homes, as part of an investment group that also includes Hubbard Media Group, Perry Capital, Lazard fund Capital Partners II and Arcadia Investments. The 10-year-old network's programming mix includes documentary-style shows on dance, theater, opera, jazz, classical music, literature and visual arts. Its carriage is small but the network says it is has master-carriage agreements with several cable operators and is available on systems in markets such as Atlanta; Chicago; Minneapolis/St. Paul; New York; and Orlando and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.

Best Buy CMO Linton steps down after four years

michael linton, exec VP-chief marketing officer, has left electronics retailer Best Buy after nearly four years in the top marketing slot. The Minneapolis-based company with $30.8 billion in sales and a nearly $1 billion advertising budget has named Barry Judge, senior VP-consumer brand marketing and a Best Buy marketing veteran, as the interim head of marketing. The company declined to discuss why Mr. Linton, 49, left. "He told us it's for personal reasons," said a spokeswoman. He could not be reached for comment.

NY Times Co. snaps up entertainment database

the new york Times Co. acquired Baseline StudioSystems from Hollywood Media for $35 million. Baseline's database contains more than 1.5 million records with facts, analysis, statistics and news about the entertainment industry, which the Times Co. will license to industry professionals and provide to readers along with advertising. The deal is part of the Times Co.'s plan to grow revenue from its digital operation as the newspaper ad business atrophies.
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