Digital A-List 2008

WWF boasts threefold jump in TV ad revenue

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World Wrestling Federation Entertainment -- despite some advertiser exits and cutbacks (AA, Dec. 6) -- said its TV ad sales would hit $33 million in the fourth quarter, more than triple the $10 million it raked in during the same period a year ago. WWF this year added a high-rated network show on UPN, "WWF Smackdown," which is garnering big ad dollars. For all its syndicated, network and cable shows, the company said it added 15 sponsors during the quarter and is sold out for the period.

Thanksgiving week toy sales up 8% to $1.2 bil

The traditional toy market reeled in about $1.2 billion in U.S. retail sales during Thanksgiving week, according to NPD Group. Dollar sales for the period were up 8% vs. the same time a year ago. Mattel and Hasbro took in 90% of the sales volume generated by the top 20 selling toys. Based on units sold, the best-selling toys were Mattel's Hot Wheels Basic Cars and Hot Wheels five-car gift pack. Based on dollars sold, Hasbro's Tiger Electronics took the top spot with Furby.

BK rides high on Pokemon; vitamins on bandwagon

Burger King Corp. on Dec. 10 ran a page ad in USA Today to alert customers that a new batch of Pokemon toys has arrived. The craze for the toys has left the burger chain scrambling to keep customers satisfied. Burger King created printed sheets of Pokemon cards to give out while it awaited the new shipment. A spokeswoman said this is the most successful promotion in Burger King's history. Same-store sales were as much as 30% above last year's in company-owned restaurants in the first weeks of the promotion, which runs through this month, she said. Burger King's agency is Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York. Elsewhere in the booming world of Pokemon, Rexall Sundown inked a deal with Nintendo of America to market a line of Pokemon children's vitamins and nutritional supplements. The products are expected to hit early next year under the Sundown vitamins brand. Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York, handles.

RCA gets biggest-ever push with $35 mil in ads

Thomson Consumer Electronics is supporting RCA with the venerable brand's biggest-ever ad push, an estimated $35 million campaign from Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York. The advertising includes five spots shot in high-definition TV, 20 print ads and seven radio spots. Creative attempts to contemporize the brand of Nipper and Chipper, and appeal to younger consumers. A spot breaking this week for the RCA DTC-100 multimedia monitor simulates movie footage and highlights the product's clarity with an icon depicting picture sharpness and an "HD" movie rating.

Newspaper ad spending rises 5.5% to $11.3 bil

Newspaper ad spending climbed 5.5% in the third quarter, vs. a year ago, to $11.3 billion, said the Newspaper Association of America. National advertising was up 17.9% to $1.6 billion, retail up 3% to $5.1 billion and classified up 4.5% to $4.6 billion. Year-to-date: total spending up 5.2% to $32.9 billion, with national up 16% to $4.9 billion, retail up 3% to $14.8 billion and classified up 4.1% to $13.2 billion.

Nestle sells coffee brands to Sara Lee

Nestle is setting the stage for a global push for Nescafe with the sale of its Chase & Sanborn, Hills Bros. and MJB coffee brands in the U.S. to Sara Lee Corp. Analysts estimate Sara Lee paid about $280 million, equivalent to the combined annual sales of the brands. Nestle plans to focus its efforts on Nescafe, extending it into a global beverage brand that includes soluble coffee as well as coffee bars and kiosks. A national launch of the contemporized Nescafe is set for April 2001, and reportedly will get about $60 million in marketing support. McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, handles Nescafe.

Justice Dept. sets stage for new cellular giant

The U.S. Department of Justice's Dec. 6 approval of Bell Atlantic Corp.'s acquisition of GTE Corp. and Bell Atlantic's partnership with Vodafone is likely to mean the launch of a fourth national cellular phone network early next year. The companies agreed to sell off assets in 96 markets including Cincinnati, Cleveland, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. They now need one last approval from the Federal Communications Commission before proceeding with plans to market a single service that would rival those of AT&T Corp., Sprint Corp. and Nextel. Currently, Bozell and Lord Group, New York, and Arnold Communications, Boston, handle Bell Atlantic; Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, handles Vodafone's AirTouch; and Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles GTE.

Justice Dept. gives OK for Infinity acquisition

Infinity Broadcasting Corp. got tentative approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for its $8.3 billion purchase of Outdoor Systems, Phoenix, after Infinity agreed to sell off outdoor display company assets in New Orleans, New York and Phoenix. Sales of specific assets are required including Outdoor Systems' bus shelter or subway advertising business in New York and Infinity's bus advertising business in New Orleans. CBS Corp. owns 82% of Infinity.

Daft rises at Coca-Cola; will succeed Ivester

Doug Daft, 56, was named president-chief operating officer, a vacant post at Coca-Cola Co., from head of the Middle East, Far East and Africa groups as well as Schweppes Beverage Division. Next April, Mr. Daft, a 30-year Coca-Cola insider, will take over the post of chairman-CEO from M. Douglas Ivester, who's retiring after two years in that job.

Hearst to sell off boating and sports magazines

Hearst Corp. agreed to sell Motor Boating & Sailing to Times Mirror Magazines, and Sports Afield to SA Acquisition Corp., a company headed by Robert E. Petersen, founder and former chairman of Petersen Publishing. Times Mirror will add Motor Boating & Sailing to its existing marine titles, Salt Water Sportsman and Yachting. Mr. Petersen, who founded the special-interest magazine company now owned by U.K.-based Emap, plans to relaunch the Sports Afield brand, established in 1887, "into the 21st century."

Klein, Zimbalist rise at Times Mirror

Jason E. Klein, 39, was named president-chief operating officer at Times Mirror Magazines, from exec VP at Times Mirror Magazines and president of corporate sales at Outdoor Co. and Today's Homeowner. He succeeds Efrem Zimbalist III, who was promoted to chairman-CEO of Times Mirror Magazines and chief financial officer of Times Mirror Co.

`Parade' longtime CEO Vittorini to retire in Feb.

Carlo Vittorini, the chairman, publisher and CEO of Sunday magazine Parade, will retire Feb. 28, his 71st birthday. Mr. Vittorini, who has been with Parade for 20 years, will be succeeded by Walter Andersen, currently exec VP-editor.

Schultz takes N. America CEO spot at Western

Lou Schultz, 55, was named CEO of Western Initiative Media North America, West Hollywood, Calif., as expected (AA, Nov. 22). He moves from vice chairman of Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., and president-CEO of CE Communications, sibling units of Western at Interpublic Group of Cos. Mr. Schultz will report to Larry Lamattina, chairman-CEO of Western Initiative Media Worldwide. Mr. Schultz also becomes vice chairman at the parent Western. Current U.S. Chairman-CEO Dennis Holt will remain as founding chairman of Western International Media. Mr. Holt sold Western International to Interpublic in 1994. With Mr. Schultz's departure from Campbell-Ewald, Michael J. Ryan, 44, moves up to vice chairman-chief operating officer, from president-automotive operations. Getting new posts are James J. Palmer, 41, to president-managing director from exec VP overseeing new-business efforts; and Jeffrey J. Scott, 40, to president-integrated account services from exec VP-account director.

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