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MediaCom's Gerster named Initiative CEO

[new york] Alec Gerster, left, CEO of Grey Global Group's MediaCom Worldwide, was named CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media Worldwide, succeeding Lou Schultz, who resigned earlier this year. Mr. Gerster, 54, joins Interpublic April 22. Interpublic also named Marie-Jose Forissier chairman of Initiative Media Worldwide. She had been Initiative's worldwide president-chief operating officer and headed an "office of the CEO." At MediaCom, Chief Operating Officer Alexander Schmidt-Vogel was named to succeed Mr. Gerster as CEO. Dene Callas and Jon Mandel, co-managing directors of the company, were named CEOs of MediaCom U.S. QwikFIND aan35b

P&G picks Pampers shop: Saatchi's in, D'Arcy's out

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. named Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi to handle the consolidated global account for Pampers diapers. The move costs Bcom3 Group's D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles its North American and Asian Pampers assignments. (Bcom3 has agreed to be acquired by Publicis.) Pampers spending at D'Arcy was not disclosed, but the North American business, at D'Arcy, New York, was estimated at $50 million to $75 million. The size of the Asian account was not disclosed. Saatchi handles Pampers in Europe and other countries outside the U.S. P&G said the action was consistent with its efforts to align global brands with a single agency. P&G President of Global Baby Care Deb Henretta said it did not reflect on D'Arcy's work. QwikFIND aan34w

11 to pitch $110 mil anti-tobacco account

[minneapolis] Eleven undisclosed agencies were invited to pitch a 10-year, $80 million-to-$110 million Minnesota anti-smoking campaign for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota's Center for Tobacco Reduction & Health Improvement, said Jan Apple, the Minneapolis consultant handling the review. The budget comes from a $252 million endowment received as part of Minnesota's settlement with the tobacco industry in the late `90s. A decision is expected in early July. Interpublic's Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, a Blue Cross agency, will participate in the review.

TBWA owed $5.4 mil by Kmart, court filings show

[chicago] Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day is listed as being owed $5.4 million by bankrupt client Kmart Corp., according to papers filed in the retailer's Chapter 11 reorganization case. The agency continues to work with the client, which recently broke a new TBWA campaign shot by director Spike Lee.

P&G's WetJet mop hits price turbulence

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. lowered the suggested retail price of its Swiffer WetJet starter kits to $24.99 from $39.99. It is the second price reduction this year. The motorized WetJet will now sell for the same price as the manual-pump Clorox ReadyMop. A P&G spokeswoman said it aims to build distribution in supermarkets, many of which balked at WetJet's price. Launched last August at $49.99, WetJet had sales of only $822,000 through Feb. 24 according to Information Resources Inc. figures that include supermarkets but not Wal-Mart Stores, which has been WetJet's primary outlet.

Quaker pours ads behind launch of Propel water

[chicago] PepsiCo's Quaker Oats Co. launches Propel fitness water nationally April 8 with an ad campaign that asks, "What if Gatorade made water?" A 30-second TV spot and three print ads by Omnicom Group's Element 79 Partners, Chicago, support. Previously available only in markets in the West and South, Propel is a vitamin-enhanced, 10-calorie water drink that comes in four light flavors. Spending was not disclosed.

FYI . . .

Chief Media Officer Tim McHale resigned from Omnicom digital agency Tribal DDB North America, New York, the agency said. Also at Tribal DDB North America, President-Chief Operating Officer Steven Marrs resigned to pursue a venture in the entertainment business. His duties were assumed by Tribal DDB North America CEO Matt Freeman. In addition, 12 staffers were laid off at Tribal DDB, New York, reducing the New York office to about 25. Messrs. Freeman, Marrs and McHale declined to comment. QwikFIND aan34z ... Philip Morris Cos. April 5 confirmed it is in discussions with South African Breweries regarding the possible sale of flagging beer unit Miller Brewing Co. It said it would make no further comment. ... Marc Goldstein, 53, president-national broadcast and programming at WPP Group media agency MindShare USA, added the additional title of CEO, MindShare North America. Those duties had been held on an interim basis by MindShare Worldwide CEO Irwin Gotlieb. ... Antivirus and Internet security services marketer Trend Micro, Cupertino, Calif., planning a U.S. relaunch, to WPP's Ogilvy & Mather, Culver City, Calif., for an anticipated $15 million to $20 million global branding account. Bcom3's Leo Burnett Worldwide handled some Trend Micro overseas work. Ogilvy sibling J. Walter Thompson works on rival Symantec. ... Six agencies pitched for the $10 million to $15 million integrated marketing account of Milnot Holding Corp.'s Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., an executive familiar with the review said. The incumbent, Interpublic's Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, declined comment. Beech-Nut did not return calls. Claggett Creative Consulting, St. Louis, handles the review. ... C. Anthony Wainwright, vice chairman, McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., was named vice chairman, Arnold Worldwide Partners, a new post. ... Former Simon Marketing Director of Security Jerome Jacobson, 59, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud for masterminding the theft of $24 million in winning game pieces, some worth up to $1 million each, from a McDonald's game promotion. He agreed to repay $12.4 million and faces up to 15 years in prison. ... State Farm Cos. today breaks a campaign keeping its 31-year-old tagline "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" but adds a theme: "We live where you live." The campaign, from Omnicom's DBB Worldwide, Chicago, includes print, TV, radio, direct mail, collateral, point-of-sale, outdoor and online efforts.

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