The Week: Jeff Bell to oversee Xbox marketing

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Jeff Bell joins Microsoft in the newly created post of corporate VP-global marketing for its Interactive Entertainment Business today. Mr. Bell, 44, last week parted ways with DaimlerChrysler, where he was VP-product strategy for the Chrysler Group and noted for turning around the Jeep and Chrysler brands. He was also known for his aggressive interactive strategy and firm belief in video-game advertising. In his Microsoft role, he will oversee global marketing for Xbox and Games for Windows businesses, which include Microsoft Game Studios, hardware platforms and all global branding. He will report to Peter Moore, corporate VP of the Interactive Entertainment Business.

American Airlines scores huge NBA finals exposure

american airlines could reap more than $60 million in brand exposure as a result of the National Basketball Association Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. The airline owns the naming rights to Miami's American Airlines Arena and Dallas' American Airlines Center. Now the two primary tenants of those venues will square off in at least four nationally televised games on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC. That's a minimum of $36 million in brand exposure for American, according Front Row Marketing Services, a Philadelphia-based naming-rights marketing and sponsorship research firm, and as much as $63 million if the series goes to its maximum length of seven games. After the Heat and Mavericks both clinched spots in the finals, it took just five days for American to turn around a marketing campaign based on the unique circumstances, announcing the "All American Series" campaign.

MSNBC's Kaplan resigns from network

msnbc president Rick Kaplan resigned from his post at the cable news channel. Mr. Kaplan, a former ABC executive, had been with the channel for more than two years, but rumors of his exit had been persistent for months. An executive close to the network said management at parent NBC Universal wants to accelerate changes at the third-place cable news channel, but added the decision behind Mr. Kaplan's departure was made by mutual consent. In a note to staff, Mr. Kaplan wrote: "I want to let you all know that today I'm leaving MSNBC. It is not often in professional life that someone has the opportunity to end his tenure on such a high note."

Panasonic launches bunny-neutering effort

panasonic kicked off a public-awareness effort dubbed "Neuter Your Bunny" to inform the public of the benefits of neutering or spaying rabbits and of the long-lasting power of Panasonic's Oxyride Extreme Power batteries. The campaign includes a Web site, neuteryourbunny.com, a "Neuter Your Bunny" van and an upcoming TV commercial. A "Neuter Your Bunny Day" is planned for June 14 in Manhattan. Energizer, which uses the pink Energizer Bunny and is one of the targets of the campaign, didn't seem amused by all the talk of bunny-neutering. "Our concern is that Panasonic is doing nothing more than confusing customers," said Jackie Burwitz, Energizer's VP-investor relations.

IBN, Duane Reade ink deal to reach NYC media buyers

in-store broadcasting Network is betting millions it can win over Manhattan's influential media elite inside the cluttered aisles of the Duane Reade drugstore chain, where New York media buyers and planners regularly stop for basics such as milk and shampoo. The Salt Lake City-based IBN is aiming to make a name for itself in the burgeoning world of shopper marketing and will bear the costs of the multimillion-dollar in-store marketing system of LCD screens in the 241-location drugstore chain.

FYI ...

american business Media on June 7 launched an integrated advertising campaign playing up the impact of business-to-business media on consumers' purchasing and decision-making habits. Dubbed "Devoured by the Influential," the effort was created by DiMassimo, New York. The campaign includes print and digital. Print will run in publications including Advertising Age, BtoB, Chief Executive and The Wall Street Journal.
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