P&G hands Gillette media biz to Starcom

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Publicis Groupe and Starcom MediaVest Group came out the big winners in the first round of assignments stemming from Procter & Gamble Co.'s acquisition of Gillette Co. and stand to pick up more communications-planning work.

P&G dropped Gillette's global media-buying agency, WPP Group's MindShare, which also handles rival Unilever's communications planning and media buying in the U.S. and globally, over conflict issues, parceling work out to existing P&G media shops. Starcom, which already had 70% of P&G's global media business, picked up Gillette's buying in the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. WPP gets to keep some of the $800 million Gillette business via existing P&G media shop Mediacom. Publicis' Zenith Optimedia also picks up overseas work.

P&G left creative assignments unchanged, with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, expected to keep the Gillette razor business. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq99m

Golfer Wie goes pro, signs with Nike, Sony

In a move that surprised no one, golf phenom Michelle Wie turned professional Oct. 5, six days before her 16th birthday, and immediately signed deals with Nike and Sony worth a combined $10 million to $12 million. Ms. Wie-No. 2 on Advertising Age's top 10 list of the next-generation of sports endorsers-made the announcement in her native Honolulu. She has been competing as an amateur in select Ladies Professional Golf Association tour competitions since she was 13. For the past two years, she has also competed in several men's tour events. Wie was runner-up at the LPGA Championship to Annika Sorenstam, and tied for third at the Women's British Open.

SUV sales in U.S. declined by 33% in September

Americans continued to shun sport utilities in September, with total U.S. SUV sales down 33% vs. the same month a year ago, said Merrill Lynch. Total industry sales tumbled 7.9%. General Motors Corp. said its SUV sales skidded 50%, while combined vehicle sales fell 24%. The slide came despite Detroit automakers' trumpeting employee discounts. Ford Motor Co. reported a 19% drop in its total September sales. George Pipas, sales analyst at Ford, predicted sales declines in traditional SUVs would continue. Chrysler Group was Detroit's only bright star, posting a 3% jump in vehicle sales. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq99j

Folger's explains shortage due to Katrina with ad

P&G's folgers last week launched a 30-second TV ad to explain widespread shortages of products caused by Hurricane Katrina, which severely damaged its primary production facility in New Orleans. The documentary-style ad by Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, features music by New Orleans rocker Allan Toussaint and narration by Emory Zimmer, the plant's manager, thanking consumers for their support and soliciting donations for the American Red Cross. It also explains that Folgers may temporarily be in short supply or in different packaging as P&G gets operations back on line. As of Oct. 6, the New Orleans operations, which resumed Sept. 19, were running at about 50% capacity, a P&G spokeswoman said. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar00g

Hadlock, architect of Burnett media biz, dies

Willard Hadlock, who built Leo Burnett Co.'s media department into an industry powerhouse and influenced a generation of industry executives, died Oct. 1 after a battle with lymphoma. Mr. Hadlock joined the agency in 1961 and during the 1980s built Leo Burnett into the country's biggest buyer of print, radio and broadcast advertising with a client roster that included McDonald's Corp., United Airlines and Miller Brewing Co. He was in his early 70s and is survived by his wife. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq99g

Wal-Mart rolls out line to rival Target fashion push

Despite talk Wal-Mart might buy fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger, the discount retailer last week launched the clothing line "Metro 7," aiming to up its fashion credibility. "We're not trying to be Target, we're trying to be Wal-Mart but more relevant to our customer," CMO John Fleming said in a release about the new line, an obvious rival to Target's fashion push with designers such as Isaac Mizrahi. "Metro 7" could also fill in where the chain's George line has failed, despite the brand's status as the No. 1 apparel brand in the U.K.

FYI...

David H. Courtney said he will resign as chief financial officer and head of corporate products for TiVo in April 2006. No successor has been named. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq99c ... GM said it will sell its roughly 20% stake in Subaru of America's Japanese parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, ending an alliance that started in 2000. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq99o

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