Ax falls on 50 Grey workers in NY

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New Grey Worldwide CEO Jim Heekin this week will unveil his plan for Grey's future structure at an agency meeting, following a layoff of almost 50 employees at the WPP Group network's New York office last week. The cuts, which comprise about 7.7% of the office's staff, were made at all levels and across all departments, a spokesman said. The changes, made by Mr. Jim Heekin, were widely anticipated following WPP's acquisition of Grey Global Group in early 2005 as new management strives to make Grey operate more efficiently. An agency spokesman called the cuts a streamlining in anticipation of that new structure; they include the dismantling of Grey New York's "village system." AdAge.com QwikFIND aar32o

Time Inc. hires execs from Conde Nast, Rodale

Time Inc., continuing the changes that are sweeping the company, raided rival publishers to fill top posts that were left vacant in a big shakeup last December. It named Leslie Picard its new senior VP-corporate sales and marketing. Ms. Picard had been VP-publisher, Conde Nast Publications' Bon Appetit. She succeeds Fred Poust, who was one of 105 company executives shown the door last month by Ann S. Moore, chairwoman-CEO, in a bid to cut costs and reallocate resources. Separately, Thomas Beusse was named president of the Time Inc.'s Time4 Media, which includes Ski, Field & Stream and Popular Science. He succeeds Mark Ford, who became president of Sports Illustrated last month. Mr. Beusse had been president of magazine publishing at Rodale. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar32m

TNS: U.S. ad spending to rise 5.4% in 2006

U.S. ad spending is expected to increase by 5.4% this year, a significant increase over its 2005 growth rate, according to a forecast from TNS Media Intelligence. Events like the Winter Olympics and the midterm elections are expected to boost spending on measured media, which grew by 3% in 2005, according to TNS. Leading the way is spending on Hispanic markets, the Internet, and cable TV. Hispanic network TV spending is expected to grow by 10.4%, followed by the Internet (9.1%), cable network TV (8.4%), outdoor (7.2%) and spot TV (7%). The laggards are like business-to-business magazines (1%), radio (3.6%), consumer and Sunday magazines (4%), and newspapers (4.3%). Network TV is expected to grow at 4.5% and syndicated TV at 4.8%. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar32j

Barickman Advertising founder dead at 81

James Hall Barickman, who built his agency into the largest in Kansas City, Mo., died Jan. 13 at the age of 81 after a long illness. Barickman Advertising, founded in 1967, and sibling Bernard Hodes were acquired by Doyle Dane Bernbach (now DDB) in 1980. Mr. Barickman, a Minneapolis native, began his career in marketing at Pillsbury Co. Following the sale, he became a senior VP at DDB and later chairman of the board of Barkley & Evergreen Advertising in Kansas City. He retired in 1986.

Study finds advantage in tracking online behavior

Consumers noticed 17% more ads targeted at them based on their Web-surfing habits than contextual Web ads, according to a new study. In addition, the more behavioral ads (as ads based on consumer's behavior are called) are shown to the consumer, the more attention that viewer pays to them. After the first exposure, the 17% advantage increases to 54%. The study, sponsored by behavioral-targeting firm Tacoda, contradicts the widely held belief that when an ad is seen on a Web site that has content that refers to products being advertised the response will be better. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar31w

FYI...

BuzzMetrics, in which VNU already had a stake, will acquire Intelliseek, best known for Blogpulse, a system that tracks trends in the blogosphere. VNU, owner of AC Nielsen and Nielsen Media Research, will take a 50.1% stake in the new company, known as BuzzMetrics. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar31u

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