BMW narrows review to eight shops

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BMW of North America selected eight agencies to participate in the next stage of the automaker's review to handle brand creative duties for its account valued at $70 million. A BMW spokeswoman said that after reviewing request-for-proposal information, the Woodcliff Lake, N.J., company chose New York agencies Anomaly Communications; WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell; MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners; and Publicis Groupe's Publicis USA. Non-New York competitors are Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas; Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Three or four contenders will be chosen from this list in October to move into the final stage, with a winner selected by the end of 2005. Media planning and buying, now at Publicis' Optimedia, is not part of the review. The incumbent, Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, resigned the account when the review was announced in mid-June. QwikFIND aaq85t

Zenith CEO takes leave of absence

ZenithOptimedia americas CEO Rich Hamilton is leaving the company for an unspecified length of time in what a press release termed a "leave of absence for personal reasons." The Publicis Groupe-owned media agency has named Chief Strategy Officer Tim Jones to replace him as CEO of ZenithOptimedia USA and promoted Wendy Marquardt to chief operating officer. The agency also named Peggy Green president-broadcast and entertainment, Zenith Media USA. The changes are effectively immediately.

Mr. Jones declined to give further details about Mr. Hamilton's leave of absence. Mr. Hamilton couldn't be reached for comment. Mr. Jones joined the group in 1985. He reports to Steve King, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Worldwide. QwikFIND aaq85y

Watchdog takes aim at Time Warner's `Tickle'

Time Warner's Cartoon Network launch of a new daily two-hour block of programming aimed at 2-to-5-year-olds called "Tickle U" was attacked as a "cynical marketing ploy" by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood led by Harvard psychologist Susan Linn. Ms. Linn questioned the channel's claim that the programming could help improve kids' socialization and humor skills. Alice Cahn, VP-development and programming for the network, rejected the criticism and said the programming can make children less likely to lash out when an obstacle comes their way. QwikFIND aaq85s

Kraft offers iPod users downloads of its recipes

Kraft Foods is hoping its recipes are a hit with iPod users. The food behemoth recently began offering owners of Apple's digital-music players the chance to download 100 of its summer recipes into the little-used Notes text area of their iPods as part of a concerted effort to reach on-the-go consumers via new digital-media outlets.

Currently promoted via its Web site,, and weekly e-mails to its consumers, Kraft hopes to expand on the efforts this fall if iPod users respond favorably. Next up: text messaging recipes to cellphones and PDAs (both initiatives Kraft is currently testing). QwikFIND aaq86g

Court: `Truth' ads didn't `vilify' tobacco makers

The American Legacy Foundation claimed victory after a Delaware judge on Aug. 22 ruled that TV and radio "Truth" anti-tobacco ads didn't "vilify" tobacco makers in ways that violated a pact between state attorneys general and tobacco makers creating the foundation.

The pact settled lawsuits in 46 states against tobacco makers. The judge largely rejected a contention from Lorillard Tobacco Co. The company said it would appeal. The judge did say that a Web site went too far in promoting scurrilous e-mails to tobacco companies, but awarded no damages. Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, handle the "Truth" campaign. QwikFIND aaq86c

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