The Week: French prepares print award show

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Ad legend Neil French, WPP Group's former roving creative consultant, is readying the launch of global awards for print advertising to be called the World Press Awards. He is partnering with Barbara Levy, owner and president of the London International Awards, to create the print-only awards. Mr. French, who is already recruiting judges, said in an e-mail that there is still a long way to go before he is ready to go public and that the new awards won't launch for a couple of months. Mr. French resigned from WPP last October after describing, in a talk to a Toronto ad group, female creative directors' trying to balance work with family time as "crap," igniting a global controversy fueled by online debate. See for more.

GM reimburses gas in Florida and California

general motors Corp., which so far this year has stayed away from national incentive advertising, introduced a promotion in Florida and California last week offering partial gas reimbursement through the end of the year. Under the promotion, buyers of select 2005 and 2006 models will get monthly reimbursements via a prepaid card for gasoline that costs more than $1.99 per gallon. The reimbursements will be made through Dec. 31 with no mileage limit. The decision to offer the deal in Florida and California wasn't based on gas prices in those two states, a GM spokeswoman said. The auto giant wanted to test a promotion regionally since it has backed away from national incentive advertising across all its eight vehicle brands, she said.

Gillette launches unbranded viral effort

not content to let Norelco have the razor buzz to itself, Gillette has launched an offbeat unbranded viral campaign to jokingly scare men clean-shaven by showing them hairy consequences of stubble. So far the Noscruf campaign includes paid-search ads on Google and other search engines, promotional placement on and a posting on for two viral videos from a fictional advocacy group-National Organization of Social Crusaders Repulsed by Unshaven Faces-and its Web site, A spokeswoman for P&G's Gillette unit said the company isn't yet prepared to discuss details of the effort, which began earlier this month.

Audi taps Mercedes' Keogh as chief marketer

audi of america has hired Scott Keogh, 37, in the new position of chief marketing officer. Mr. Keogh had spent the past decade at Mercedes-Benz USA, where his most recent title was general manager-marketing communications. Audi said Mr. Keogh will oversee all marketing strategy and lead marketing efforts to elevate the brand in the U.S.

Ad industry honors True North's Peebler

ad-industry heavyweights are coming together to honor Charles D. Peebler Jr., chairman emeritus of True North Communications, at Honors Night 2006 on May 31 in New York. Mr. Peebler has been diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, a debilitating brain disease, and proceeds from the event will go to research services for the Society for PSP. "In the worlds of advertising and business, Chuck's accomplishments and philanthropy of more than 40 years are without peer," said Interpublic Group of Cos. Co-Chairman David Bell. Mr. Bell is one of the co-chairs of the event, along with: Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick; Peter Grauer, chairman, Bloomberg; William Kerr, chairman-CEO, Meredith Corp.; and William Schreyer, chairman emeritus, Merrill Lynch & Co. Dr. John C. Steele, a leading researcher in the PSP field, will also be honored at the event.

Mosallem files lawsuit against Grey, WPP

maintaining he was not the mastermind of the kickback and bid-rigging scheme between Grey Worldwide and graphics house Color Wheel for which he was convicted, Mitch Mosallem, former exec VP-director graphic services at Grey, New York, is suing the agency and parent WPP Group for $4 million in damages. He charges that he "took the fall" for Grey, which covered up the role of senior managers. WPP lawyers are trying to have the lawsuit dismissed. Grey spokesman Owen Dougherty said: "Mitch Mosallem's complaint has no merit." WPP's spokesperson didn't comment.

FYI ...

japanese advertising agency Dentsu has changed the name of its New York flagship office from DCA Advertising to Dentsu America. The name change is meant to clearly identify the agency as part of Dentsu Group. . . . Roger Bentley is the new exec VP-executive creative director of WPP Group's Grey, San Francisco. Previously Mr. Bentley worked on the Mercedes Benz business as an associate creative director at Merkley & Partners, New York.
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