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Chicago agencies undergo another round of layoffs

[chicago] Insiders at Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA said the agency plans to cut 50 more people in coming weeks after laying off 200 workers last week (See related item, Page 30). Burnett denied there would be more cuts. Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide said it cut 15 jobs here. WPP Group's Y&R Advertising office trimmed nine from its ranks after client cutbacks and dot-com fallout. Havas Advertising's Euro RSCG Tatham cut 16 jobs after losing Bayer and buying McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown. Omnicom's Draft Worldwide laid off about 30 here several weeks ago; it's now staffing up on new client Burger King.

Prodigy to begin search for a new ad agency

[austin, texas] Prodigy Communications Corp., an ISP allied with SBC Communications, will begin a search for an ad agency closer to its new headquarters here. Prodigy and Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, parted last month. According to Competitive Media Reporting, Prodigy spent $22.1 million for measured media in the first nine months of 2000.

Microsoft breaks spot for UltimateTV

[mountain view, calif.] Microsoft Corp. today breaks a 30-second teaser ad for its UltimateTV personal TV service. The spot is part of an estimated $50 million integrated-marketing campaign created by True North Communications' FCB Worldwide, San Francisco, and will appear on network and cable TV. The computer-animated spot's voice-over hypes UltimateTV as the future of TV that allows viewers to time-shift their viewing and be in two places at one time. Voiceover ends with the warning: "Better hold on to your bean dip."

Pickett nears deal with Winkler

[san francisco] Pickett Advertising is close to buying San Francisco shop Winkler Advertising. Winkler, one of the oldest tech-focused agencies in California, last year bought back the equity stake it sold in 1997 to Grey Advertising. With the purchase, Pickett, with about $40 million in billings, will pick up an estimated $30 million in accounts. Agnieszka Winkler, president-CEO of the agency, will work solely as CEO of her software company, which has developed Team Toolz, a software product facilitating communication between clients and agencies.

Nick Jr. to take ads starting Feb. 17

[new york] CBS's Nick Jr. programming block will start taking advertising Feb. 17, with Ford Motor Co. as its first advertiser. Ford, already a multiyear advertising partner in Nickelodeon, which sells the ad time on Nick Jr., will run its current minivan campaign through April 28. After the Viacom/CBS merger last March, execs pushed a quick launch last July of Nick Jr. programming on CBS. But because of quick turnaround time and a soft kids advertising market, Nickelodeon executives elected not to sell advertising initially on the three-hour Saturday morning kids block. Other scatter deals to come, said Susan Danaher, exec VP-general sales manager of Nickelodeon, are to include toys and package goods.

Wilson puts $6 mil acc't up for review

[chicago] Wilson Sporting Goods put its $6 million ad account up for review. Incumbent DDB Chicago, an Omnicom Group unit that has held the account since 1996, declined to participate in the review. The marketer is conducting the search in-house and is inviting six yet-to-be-named Chicago agencies to the pitch.

New Jersey breaks anti-tobacco ad

[trenton, n.j.] The New Jersey Department of Public Health broke a $5 million anti-tobacco advertising campaign from Omnicom Group's BBDO Minneapolis last week using a "Not for sale" theme. Similar in concept to an earlier Florida effort, ads suggest state teen-agers can fight back against Big Tobacco's manipulation by not smoking.

P&G ends test of Impress plastic wrap

[cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. is ending its test market of Impress plastic wrap in Grand Junction, Colo., with no announced plans for rolling the brand nationally. P&G had planned to roll the brand out in the U.S. this spring. In a conference call with analysts last month, President-CEO A.G. Lafley said the company needs to better time rollouts to match company resources and did not name Impress among products to be launched by June 30. P&G will consider selling some brands it has test-marketed to other companies, Chief Financial Officer Clayton Daley said last year, but Impress does not appear to be among them, according to an executive familiar with the company's plans, who said P&G still has plans for the product. A P&G spokesman would not comment on plans to roll out or sell Impress. BCom3 Group unit D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, handles the brand.

Bush consultants form company

[washington] Stevens & Schriefer, whose principals, Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer are veteran GOP ad executives who worked in the Bush campaign, is forming a company called Mosaic Media, with Washington lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie & Associates. Mosaic will pitch corporations, coalitions and public policy campaigns that include advertising. Quinn Gillespie founder Ed Gillespie is a GOP strategist and national party official while partner Jack Quinn was White House counsel in the Clinton administration and chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.


The Lexus division of Toyota Motor Sales USA, Torrance, Calif., promoted Mike Wells to VP-marketing from general manager of Toyota Financial Services. He's been with Toyota since 1986 and succeeds Greg Kitzens, who moves to assistant general manager of the Denver region. ... Powell, New York, the design agency created by Neil Powell, former Duffy Worldwide president, named Jeffrey Kenyon, 29, strategy director, from design planner at Duffy, New York. He is the first hire for the shop, which is working with client Allied Domecq on a branding assignment and a product launch.

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