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Agency execs warn FCC on media policy

[washington] Taking their first position in the media consolidation debate, members of the media policy committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies criticized the results of loosened federal limits on media ownership in a 90-minute closed door meeting last week with staff officials of the Federal Communications Commission. A Four A's executive present said the buyers complained that consolidation is driving up marketer costs, eliminating needed program diversity and, in some cases, preventing the purchase of ads in geographies small enough for some marketers, such as smaller retailers, to compete.

Cereal bars join Special K lineup

[battle creek, mich.] Kellogg Co., building on the success of its Special K Red Berries cereal, will introduce Special K Bars nationally on July 15. The 90-calorie snack bars, in strawberry and blueberry varieties, will be marketed and delivered directly to stores by Kellogg's Keebler division, along with Nutri-Grain, Pop-Tarts , Rice Krispies Treats and Keebler cookies and crackers. Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles.

After stock plunge, Omnicom recovers

[NEW YORK] Omnicom Group stock ended a seesaw string of trading days with its price June 28 at $45.80, up 3.4% for the day, off 13.7% for the week. Earlier, the stock sank after Moody's Investors Service said it was reviewing Omnicom's credit rating for a possible downgrade. The stock fell to $36.50, a five-year low, during the day June 27 but rebounded to $44.30 at the close, off 9.2% from the previous day. Analysts backed Omnicom, saying investors are overreacting to allegations concerning its accounting.

Coke reviews shops for Canada media

[atlanta] Coca Cola Co. is reviewing agencies for its media planning and buying account in Canada. The incumbent, Bcom3's Starcom, Toronto, is not participating, according to executives in the review, but Bcom3 sibling MediaVest is pitching, as are Aegis Group's Carat and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann. All are Toronto based. The size of the account was not disclosed.

New Saturn ads back '02 clearance push

[detroit] Two TV spots breaking this week from new Saturn Corp. agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, support a 2002 model clearance campaign by the General Motors Corp. unit. Spending was not disclosed. Creative from the Omnicom Group agency shows the thoughts of Saturn owners that take advantage of the company's five-year, 0% financing offer. Separately, Saturn is sponsoring its first music tour, the Goo Goo Dolls summer tour with Third Eye Blind and Vanessa Carlton.

Lawyer group breaks democratic values ads

[chicago] American Bar Association July 8 launches what it said is a multi-million dollar, multi-year campaign celebrating the U.S. Constitution and encouraging debate on democratic values. Print ads break July 8 in newspapers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Washington via Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky, New York. Other aspects of the public image effort are handled by by Public Strategies, Austin, Texas

Financial crunch looms for Web publisher Salon

[san francisco] Salon Media Group, parent of online magazine, said financial difficulties could force it out of business. In a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, it disclosed it had received a negative "going concern" opinion from PricewaterhouseCoopers and that its stock could be delisted from the Nasdaq exchange. Salon posted net losses of $11.3 million on revenue of $3.6 million for the fiscal year ended March 31 and has an accumulated deficit of $76.6 million. Salon's stock price last week hit a low of 2 cents a share and closed the week at 5 cents, down 44.4% for the week.

Dell sweeps promo aims at college kids

[round rock, texas] Dell Computer Corp. today launches a month-long "$50,000 a Day Giveaway" sweepstakes, backed by two 60-second TV spots and print from Omnicom's DDB Worldwide, Chicago. Aimed at college students, the spots star Dell's ubiquitous "Steven" spokesperson advising a class on the PC's return on investment, and on the sweepstakes as a smart financial aid tool. Spending was not disclosed. Media includes network, spot and cable TV and consumer business and technology publications.

FYI . . .

Gator Corp. said it may countersue to fend off an attack by major publishers seeking a federal injunction that would bar Gator from placing its advertising on top of sometimes competing advertisers on the publishers' Web sites. A hearing on the publishers' suit was set for July 25 in U.S. district court in Alexandria, Va. ... Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Southern California, Irvine, Calif., laid off about a dozen of its 220 employees, or about 7% of its staff, an executive familiar with the situation said. ... U.S. Marine Corps retained long-time incumbent WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson Co., Atlanta, its recruitment advertising assignment after a review. The Marine Corps said it currently spends about $18 million a year on ads. ... Bank of America named Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, New York, to handle the launch early next year of an undisclosed new investment service from its Asset Management Group. Spending was not disclosed. ... E! Networks' E! is expected to be among the first cable TV networks to close its upfront business. The niche network received CPM increases estimated in the 6% to 8% range. ... Cendant Corp.'s Jackson Hewitt tax preparation unit to independent shop DeVito/Verdi, New York, from Grey Global Group's Grey Advertising, New York. for its estimated $10 million account. ... Jamie Korson to chief marketing officer at Omnicom retail advertising agency Zimmerman Partners Advertising, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He had been president, KSL Media, New York, then a unit of True North Communications. ... Einstein Noah Bagel Corp. promotes lunch in its first TV campaign, testing in northern California. Independent shop Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif., handles. Tag is: "Enjoy your lunch."

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