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Mattel drops FCB from boys toys business

[el segundo, calif.] Mattel has parted with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, El Segundo and New York, for its boys toys business, and possibly its estimated $15 million character toys account, a number of executives involved with the business said. Billings on boys toys, which includes Hot Wheels and action figures, are estimated at $25 million. It was unclear at deadline whether the account was in review or would be consolidated following a shootout between WPP Group shops, Ogilvy & Mather, Culver City, Calif., which handles the estimated $25 million Barbie business, and the Y&R Cos., Irvine, agency for non-Barbie girls' toys. Matt Bousquette, president-boys/entertainment for Mattel, declined to comment. FCB Chicago President-CEO Dana Anderson said she was unaware of a change.

Coke says it has no plans for agency shift

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Dunn said the company has no immediate plans to shift agency assignments, despite speculation Interpublic Group of Cos. could lose some of its work to WPP Group. Mr. Dunn, however, said "Look at history. Stuff moves around." Despite Coca-Cola's dismissals, talk of discontent has circulated since Interpublic-Coke Classic's global creative partner since December 2000-has not delivered a summer branding campaign. Mr. Dunn said he is not worried Classic has no summer branding campaign, though he would have preferred to have the appropriate work on air in the prime drinking season. He said he is happy with his agency lineup, which includes Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide and WPP's Ogilvy & Mather-though "at the end of the day, we need to get [the correct Coke campaign] done." Separately, Jan Hall, senior VP-Sprite, flavors and hydration, departed the company after her position was eliminated with this month's appointment of Chris Lowe as chief marketing officer for North America, a spokesman confirmed.

Y&R taps Blocklin as vice chairman

[new york] June Blocklin this week rejoins WPP Group's Y&R Advertising as a vice chairman. In this role she will work on key corporate accounts and also develop new business opportunities. Most recently president-partner services of Upromise, a company that helps clients save for college, Ms. Blocklin was a worldwide client services director at Y&R Advertising before leaving the agency in 1998 to join Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos, Boston. "Having June come back is like getting [the New York Yankees'] Jason Giambi," said Mike Dolan, chairman- CEO, Young & Rubicam and Y&R Advertising.

Revamped Range Rover gets print campaign

[irvine, calif.] Ford Motor Co.'s Land Rover North America launches its redone Range Rover sport utility in an extensive all-print campaign breaking in June magazines. Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, uses the new tag "Higher ground" for the brand's top-of-the-line model, with a nearly $70,000 sticker price. Land Rover said the new model will help it reach its target to double North American sales to roughly units this year. The niche brand spent $46 million in measured media in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Land Rover sold 11,654 units through April in the U.S. vs. 7,129 the same period a year ago, according to Ad Age sibling Automotive News. The growth was due to its all-new Freelander model, Land Rover's least expensive offering. It accounted for 4,625 units through April.

Tony Awards broadcast ad revenue up 10%

[new york] Advertising revenue for the 56th Annual Tony Awards broadcast on Viacom's CBS this Sunday night is up 10% from last year, Ad Age sibling Crain's New York Business reports. The event, which is watched by a more upscale, professional demographic than other award shows, has attracted a slew of financial services companies such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Charles Schwab & Co., and TD Waterhouse. Advertising executives say the Tonys attract the second most upscale audience on TV, after "The West Wing."

Report: Increase predicted for upfront

[new york] Merrill Lynch predicts a 2% to 6% rise in upfront dollar haul from $7 billion to $7.15-$7.45 billion for the broadcast networks in a report issued May 24. The report also predicted that Viacom's CBS/UPN and General Electric Co.'s NBC will pull in revenue increases of up to 25% and 16%, respectively. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and News Corp.'s Fox, however, will endure revenue declines of at least 12%, the report said.

Richards, Carat pitch for Hyundai regional biz

[dallas] Independent Richards Group has started making creative presentations to Hyundai Motor America's regional dealer ad groups. Separately, Carat North America has also started pitching the groups for local buying. The incumbent, Cordiant Communications Group's Bates USA West, Irvine, Calif., has the accounts through September. Bates, which lost Hyundai's national creative account to Richards earlier in May and the national media account to Carat in January, let go of its national account staff a few weeks ago.

Nintendo to boost ad spending by 25%

[redmond, wash.] Nintendo of America will boost ad spending by 25% during its fiscal year stretching from April 1, 2002, to April 1, 2003, in order to support several key product introductions, according to George Harrison, senior-VP-corporate communications and marketing. The company will back its library of software titles, products that connect the GameBoy Advance to the GameCube, online gaming solutions, GameBoy Advance, and new software titles such as "Super Mario Sunshine," "Metroid: Prime" and "Star Fox" with major campaigns. Nintendo spent an estimated $180 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR; it spent $7.6 million in January-February of this year. Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is Nintendo's agency of record.

FYI . . .

The New Yorker will boost its rate base to 875,000 with its August 19 issue, marking its fourth rate base increase since 1998 when its rate base was 725,000. ... Healthcare executive Bill Mulligan, 43, has moved from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson to Cordiant Communications' Bates Healthworld, where he will be exec VP-general manager. ... Nintendo of America will launch its first national promotion with Wendy's International. The September-October kids' meal promotion will focus on Nintendo's popular Mario character franchise. Spending was not disclosed but Wendy's and Nintendo plan heavy TV promotion. ... ... SafirRosetti, Omnicom Group's security and investigative consulting firm, has acquired Dallas-based MVW Consultants. The Dallas office now gives SafirRosetti eight locations, including New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, London and Hong Kong. ... E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. has named three finalists for the estimated $40 million global advertising account for its Lycra brand, the company said: Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, WPP's Y&R Advertising and Interpublic's McCann-Erickson Worldwide, all New York. ... Vivendi Universal's newly named Universal Television Group has inked several sponsorship deals for its 20-hour miniseries "Taken" on the Sci Fi channel in December. IBM Corp., General Motors Corp. and Expedia are among those that have signed on for the series. Deals are going for $1 million to $3 million-plus.

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