Universal Studios Hollywood taps Mears for turnaround
theme park Universal Studios Hollywood, a mainstay in Southern California in need of an image and traffic boost, has brought on a retail and restaurant veteran to help pull in the crowds. Mark Mears, whose background includes stints at the Blimpie sandwich chain, JC Penney and ad agencies Leo Burnett and Bozell Worldwide, recently became the park's senior VP-marketing and sales. Mr. Mears joins Universal as the theme park launches a $10 million marketing campaign under the tagline "The entertainment capital of Los Angeles," from ad agency David & Goliath, Los Angeles.
New owners of 'Vibe' cut 20 more employees
the new owners of Vibe magazine, the Wicks Group of Cos., continued shrinking staff and making room for new hires by firing another 20 employees across all departments. Those dismissed July 11 include Lori Yacovone, managing editor; Karla Y. Radford, who was executive director-events and artist relations and had been with Vibe since its earliest days; Florian Bachleda, design director; and Rondell Conway, associate music editor. They joined the editors and execs already ousted, including longtime Editor in Chief Mimi Valdes; Kenard E. Gibbs, president; and Shani Saxon-Parrish, executive editor.
WPP inks deal with social-networking service
wpp has struck a joint venture with a social-networking service to build out blogs, buddy lists, message boards, chat rooms and community sites for its clients. As part of the deal with Live World, the global agency network has the option of purchasing a $2.1 million stake in the company if it exercises a warrant to purchase 1 million shares at $1 each and another million at $1.10 each. (Live World's stock closed July 12 down 1› to 46› a share.) Live World, based in Los Gatos, Calif., was launched 10 years ago as Talk City, an early community and chat site. Its clients include HBO, which runs message boards on HBO.com; Campbell's Soup, which boasts an online recipe-sharing site; and BMW's Mini Cooper, which has created an "owner's community" to which Live World boasts 70% of Mini Cooper owners belong.
Mag ad pages fall for first half; auto ads down 16.9%
pages for standard consumer magazines fell 0.2%, while total pages were flat at 0.1% when Sunday magazines such as Parade and Life are included, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Much of the pain could be traced to the carmakers; automotive-ad pages fell 16.9% so far this year. But magazines managed to increase pages from drugs and remedies, a category that was up 12.2%, and retail, up 11.7%. Though there were plenty of big winners and losers, titles with small gains or losses predominated.
USPS set to change circulation standards
the u.s. Postal Service is proposing to ease standards for when a magazine's circulation counts as paid, effectively permitting publishers to send out ad-heavy special editions or advertorials without running afoul of postal rules and possibly leading to more rate-cutting promos. In a filing last week with the Postal Rate Commission, the Postal Service proposed that in order for magazines to qualify for a paid-periodical rate, only 30% of subscriptions would have to be sold at the basic subscription rate rather than the 50% required now.
PayPal taps Zimmerman to integrate Mobile efforts
the ebay company PayPal has enlisted the help of Omnicom's Zimmerman Advertising to help marketers integrate PayPal Mobile into their marketing and advertising campaigns. PayPal Mobile, launched in April, is a text-message-based service allowing consumers in the U.S. and Canada to send money, donate to charities and purchase items from brands such as Nike, L'Oreal, MTV, the NBA and 20th Century Fox. Zimmerman's retail clients include Office Depot, The Vitamin Shoppe, Value City and Wickes Furniture.
For more on all these stories, go to AdAge.com