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Coca-Cola Co. hires VP for worldwide media

[atlanta] Omar Rodriguez, Coca-Cola Co.'s group manager-international media until 1999, has rejoined the company as VP-director of worldwide media, a new post. He reports to Scott McCune, VP-director of worldwide sports, entertainment, licensing and media. A native of Puerto Rico, Mr. Rodriguez left Coca-Cola Co. in 1999 to consult and pursue an MBA degree. In addition to Coca-Cola Co., Mr. Rodriquez worked on Coca-Cola Co. business for Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide in Argentina and New York from 1991 to 1996. McCann is a major Coca-Cola Co. agency.

NBC and Amex sign big May sweeps deal

[NEW YORK] American Express Co. has inked a multimillion-dollar marketing deal with General Electric Co.'s NBC for that network's month-long May sweeps 75th anniversary celebration, according to media executives. NBC confirmed the deal, but not its value. It will include media and promotional elements on the NBC network, MSNBC, NBC stations and NBC's Internet properties. American Express, for example, will have sponsorship mentions in NBC on-air promotion spots.

Exec shifts at Ford affect marketing posts

[dearborn, mich.] Ford Motor Co. reassigned marketing executives following its announcement April 19 that Premier Automotive Group Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle will leave the company. Mazda Motor Corp. President-CEO Mark Fields succeeds Mr. Reitzle as London-based head of Premier. Ford Division President Jim O'Connor was named corporate group VP-North American marketing, sales and service, a new post. Kathleen Ligocki was named VP-North American marketing, a new post, from VP-business strategy for Canada and Mexico. Ford also transferred its Lincoln brand from Premier to its new North American Consumer Business Group. Premier car brands are now all European-based: Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Hearing on kickbacks faces delay to May 22

[new york] A U.S. district court hearing set for today on mail fraud charges filed against former Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide Exec VP Mitchell E. Mosallem was expected to be rescheduled to May 22, persons familiar with the case said. Attorneys for the government and Mr. Mosallem declined to comment. The delay gives federal investigators more time to probe a kickback scheme, allegedly involving Mr. Mosallem, that defrauded advertisers through inflated bills from graphics suppliers for ad production services. In addition to Grey, Bates Worldwide, New York, is cooperating with the federal probe. See full story: QwikFIND aan39d

Hyundai collateral work is leaving Bates West

[fountain valley, calif.] Hyundai Motor America moved its collateral assignment from Cordiant Communications Group's Bates USA West, Irvine Calif., after a review, and awarded it to independent agency Hamon & Associates, Los Angeles. The move came as U.S. -based Hyundai executives prepared to meet today with South Korean-based Hyundai officials to discuss which of four agencies, including incumbent Bates West, will win the auto marketer's $160-million U.S. creative account. Presentations were made last week by Bates; Publicis Groupe's Publicis West, Seattle, and Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and Richards Group, Dallas.

Abercrombie T-shirt flap sparks call for ad reply

[new york] Apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch pulled from its stores and Web site a range of $25 T-shirts depicting Asians in conical hats and carrying slogans like "Wong Brothers Laundry Service-Two Wongs Can Make it White." Asian-Americans started an e-mail campaign last week accusing the retailer of racism. Factor, New York, a new Asian-American marketing agency, is rallying support among Asian groups to run a national newspaper ad urging corporate executives to show greater sensitivity in their marketing efforts.

Hallmark rolls out effort in time for Mother's Day

[kansas city, mo.] A $30 million Hallmark Cards branding effort, breaking today, unveils a new tag for its greeting-card line, "They'll never forget you remembered," replacing the "Cards work" theme set last year. Leading a five-spot package from Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is the emotive "Anthem Mother's Day," which flashes black-and-white photographs of mothers and daughters set to an original score composed by Burnett USA Chairman-Chief Creative Officer Cheryl Berman and sung by folk-rock artist Shawn Colvin.

FYI . . .

The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies said within two weeks it will launch an ad campaign urging marketers to use Hispanic agencies. AHAA said it will spend $250,000 on the effort initially and hopes to raise more money. ... Sirius Satellite Radio signed an exclusive multiyear, multi-million dollar marketing partnership with International Speedway Corp. that includes title sponsorship of two Nascar Winston Cup events-the Sirius Satellite Radio 400 in Michigan in June and Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glenn in New York in August. ... Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide agreed to acquire Salt Lake City agency Boede & Partners, persons familiar with the deal said. Terms were not disclosed. Boede serves as a consultant on Grey's technology accounts, including Unisys Corp. and Bell South Corp. ... House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., said "I would find a problem with it" if restrictions on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs were included in proposed legislation to create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. He said he expressed that view to the GOP chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which would write any new Medicare law. QwikFIND aan40a ... Kraft Foods this week launches a campaign for A.1. Steak Sauce and Steakhouse Marinades, the first from Interpublic's Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago. FCB, New York, previously handled the A.1. account. Kraft said it is budgeting a slight increase in support for the brand over 2001, when Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR estimated it received $6 million in measured media support. ... News Corp.'s FX picked up 13 more episodes of "The Shield" despite advertiser defections due to hard-edged content. An FX spokesman said, "Ad revenue aside, the value of the show has been phenomenal for the network."

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