[new york] Unilever plans to announce this week it has launched a review for its first North American interactive media buying agency of record. The agency will handle allocation of spending among Unilever's existing interactive partners -- America Online, MSN and iVillage -- as well as media buys outside those relationships. Spending and contenders weren't available.
Magazine postal hike may be eased to under 10%
[washington] Magazines last week got a clear hint that a requested 15% hike in their postal rates, slated to take effect early next year, may yet be eased. A U.S. Postal Service economist told the Postal Rate Commission that new evidence shows the service will get $200 million in automation savings from procedural changes magazines implemented in cooperation with the Postal Service. An official of the Magazine Publishers of America said if the commission accepts the new evidence, the rate increase could drop to less than 10%. The Postal Rate Commission is set to approve final rates in November.
Dunlop tees up $25 mil review
[greenville, s.c.] Dunlop Maxfly Sports Corp. is contacting shops about its estimated $25 million account. The golf and tennis products marketer has previously used J. Walter Thompson USA, Atlanta.
Cole & Weber to join Conquest
[london] WPP Group will officially announce on Nov. 1 the formation of a new global group that will include Cole & Weber, Seattle and Portland, Ore., according to Mike Doherty, Cole exec VP-managing director. The network will be a worldwide expansion of Conquest, a WPP agency based in Milan. WPP also plans to acquire an East Coast shop for Conquest. Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP's chief executive, will extend Conquest to create a fourth global agency under a new name.
Space.com opens $10 mil review
[new york] Space.com, an information and entertainment site dedicated to "the popularization of space," is contacting agencies to handle approximately $10 million in advertising. Wolf Group is the incumbent agency for the site, whose chairman-CEO is Lou Dobbs.
Federated opens Macy's review
[san francisco] Federated Department Stores, moving to unify the East and West divisions of Macy's, has been talking with advertising agencies on both coasts in a review for a corporate branding effort. Spending was undisclosed for the assignment, which does not include the retail work handled in-house by each division. Federated executives did not return calls at press time.
Donatos trims finalists to four
[columbus, ohio] Donatos Pizza has sliced the contenders for its $10 million to $15 million creative and media account to four. Finalists from an initial field of 45 agencies are DDB Worldwide and Leo Burnett USA, both Chicago; Martin/Williams, Minneapolis; and Richards Group, Dallas. The account for the McDonald's Corp. unit is currently handled by Haunty Agency, Columbus. Rojek Marketing Group, Columbus, is the consultant.
`Maxim,' ABC prepare radio feature
[new york] Maxim will partner with ABC Radio to produce and distribute the "Maxim Minute," a weekly 60-second clip of Maxim-written information and entertainment that will air on the radio network's 3,000 news and news/talk affiliates, starting Sept. 8.
Monster.com hears presentations
[maynard, mass.] Monster.com heard presentations Aug. 30 from incumbent Mullen, Wenham, Mass.; BBDO Worldwide, New York; Arnold Communications, Boston; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., about its $90 million account review. Ron Plotkin, marketing director at Monster.com, said the pitches were so good that Monster is delaying its decision to better evaluate them. He said the company may not make a final agency choice this week but instead might pare the list down to two contenders.
Novartis, Pacific Foods launch new line of soy-based products
[summit, n.j.] Novartis has partnered with Pacific Foods of Oregon to launch a line of soy-based products under the Pacific Life Foods name. Although Pacific Foods has previously marketed an eponymous line of products in natural food stores, the new line of soy and rice milks, broth and cream of tomato soup will be distributed in more mainstream grocery channels, said a Novartis spokeswoman. The products will not initially get national marketing support, as Novartis is taking a "more cautious approach" to entering the booming soy category.
AT&T Broadband opens big consumer promotion
[denver] AT&T Broadband kicked off an ad campaign in 10 markets supporting its most aggressive consumer promotion to date, offering free local and long-distance phone service with free installation until February. Consumers can sign up for the offer until Nov. 15. The campaign, which broke Sept. 4, includes newspaper ads and TV spots on AT&T-owned cable channels, direct mail, bill inserts and outbound telemarketing. Husk Jennings, Jacksonville, Fla., handles print and TV; Impiric, a unit of Young & Rubicam, New York, is responsible for direct marketing.
ConAgra is relaunching its Healthy Choice line of frozen meals and entrees this month with flavor improvements that it hopes will stem sales declines for the faltering low-fat line. Ad spending, from Grey Worldwide, New York, will double, with a national TV campaign beginning this month. . . . Euro RSCG Tatham is acquiring McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, and its creative director, Jim Schmidt, will succeed Tatham's former chief creative officer, Bob Welke. . . . Adventureseek.com to Blazing Paradigm, San Francisco, as first agency for an expected $2 million account for the seller of online adventure travel packages. . . . Coors Brewing Co. has begun testing plastic bottles for Coors Light in stadiums around the country (see related story, Page 8). . . . McDonald's Corp. will release a spot Sept. 13 for its "Taste Trials" promotion. The promo features an instant win game that includes a $1 million prize.