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[dulles, va.] New America Online Exec VP-Brand Marketing Leonard Short on Jan. 10 fired Interpublic Group of Cos.' Gotham, New York, America Online's agency of eight years, and began a review with Pile & Co., Boston. In a prepared statement, Mr. Short said the AOL Time Warner unit believes it will be best served "exploring a new agency relationship." Gotham executives declined to comment. See QwikFIND aao34b

NBC president exits to be Sony Music CEO

[new york] NBC President-Chief Operating Officer Andrew Lack is leaving the General Electric Co. unit to join Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, where he succeeds Tommy Mottola as chairman-CEO. Mr. Lack, 55, had held his NBC post since 2001, after having been president of NBC News, and had a strained relationship with NBC Chairman-CEO Robert Wright, according to NBC insiders. Mr. Lack and Sony Corp. of America Chairman-CEO Howard Stringer were colleagues at CBS News, where Mr. Lack worked for 17 years before joining NBC News as its president in 1993. NBC insiders said Mr. Lack's post will not be filled. In a memo issued Jan. 9, NBC said senior executives, with the exception of Telemundo President James McNamara, will report to Mr. Wright. See QwikFIND aao34a

Aventis taps Euro RSCG for $100 mil Lantus drug

[strasbourg, france] Aventis Pharmaceuticals awarded the $100 million global ad assignment for its Lantus diabetes drug to Havas' Euro RSCG Worldwide, after a review. Public relations for the brand was assigned to WPP Group's Burson-Marsteller, which originally pitched for the combined account with sibling WPP shop Y&R Advertising. Lantus is expected to become Aventis' flagship diabetes product. Aventis declined to comment. Euro RSCG did not return calls.

Electrolux picks Lowe as its global agency

[stockholm] Swedish home appliance giant Electrolux chose Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe & Partners Worldwide, through Lowe's London, Stockholm and New York offices, for its estimated $50 million global account, after a review, people familiar with the situation said. Neither Lowe nor Electrolux would confirm the appointment until a contract is signed. Electrolux until now has put most of its marketing dollars behind sub-brands with their own local ad agencies. Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide previously handled the Electrolux vacuum cleaner business.

D'Arcy client Roche shifting to Bates

[basel, switzerland] Pharmaceutical marketer Roche is moving ad business now at Publicis Groupe's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, to Cordiant Communications Group's Bates Group, said executives familiar with the situation. Spending could not be determined but the move involves numerous brands, including vitamins (Redoxon, Berocca), medicine (Delsya, Aleve) and health products (Cal de Sene, Floresse). Calls to D'Arcy and to Bates were not returned at press time.

Interpublic names CEO for Octagon sports unit

[new york] Octagon North America President Rick Dudley was named president-CEO of Octagon Worldwide, the sports marketing unit of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Sports and Entertainment Group, succeeding Les Delano, who left last year.

Bloomberg magazine is halting publication

[new york] Bloomberg's Bloomberg Personal Finance is closing, staffers were told Jan. 9, and its February issue, currently being mailed, will be its last. The move affects 40 employees. A company spokeswoman said all will be shifted to other posts in the company. For the first six months of 2002, the magazine's circulation rose 20.8% to 410,303, but newsstand sales were off 13.7%. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is the controlling owner of Bloomberg, was not available for comment. See QwikFIND aa033y

Anti-SUV TV ads hit four markets, cable

[los angeles] Sport utility vehicles are vilified in a TV spot from syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington's Detroit Project that broke Jan. 12 in a four-market spot TV buy (New York, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington), mostly during NBC's "Meet the Press." The anti-SUV ad then moves to cable. Spending was estimated at $250,000. Creative was handled by Scott Burns, a former creative at Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and production company A Band Apart, Los Angeles. See QwikFIND aao33w

FYI . . .

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a California Supreme Court "commercial speech" decision against Nike that could lead to a significant further clarification of First Amendment protections for corporations. The California decision applied truth-in-advertising law to Nike corporate statements about conditions in overseas plants that made its products. ... Unilever's Good Humor-Breyers unit dropped WPP's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Chicago, from its agency roster in what an Ogilvy spokeswoman called a global consolidation. Ogilvy, an agency on other Unilever business, had handled Breyers, Klondike and Popsicle, with spending of as much as $15 million. The brands were reassigned to Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, the Ogilvy spokeswoman confirmed. Good Humor brand is handled by Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York. Campbell Mithun declined to comment. Unilever executives were not available for comment. ... Virgin Group's Virgin Mobile USA on Jan. 13 will name Howard Handler to be its chief marketing officer, a new post. Mr. Handler, most recently CEO of Burly Bear Network, a college cable TV network. ... Omnicom's Diversified Agency Services division acquired theatrical advertising agency Serino Coyne, New York, for an undisclosed price. The move could open a door to partnerships for Omnicom clients with the theatrical community. ... John Russo and Bob Nelson, former senior creative executives at Publicis' soon-to-close D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, are rejoining former D'Arcy Chief Creative Officer Lee Garfinkel at the New York office of Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, where Mr. Garfinkel is chairman-chief creative officer. Mr. Russo, 53, executive creative director at D'Arcy, becomes co-executive creative director (with John Staffen) at DDB, New York. Mr. Nelson, 52, D'Arcy's managing director for global creative services, becomes director for broadcast production, a vacant post at DDB, New York.

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