The Week

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Sesame Street Workshop dismissed charges last week that its new McDonald's Corp. sponsorship sends the wrong message to kids about obesity and foods. Ralph Nader's Commercial Alert and some public-health advocates contended McDonald's sponsorship messages violate a "trust" and turns Sesame Street into "an auxiliary megaphone for the marketing machine of McDonald's franchise." The Workshop said that the messages don't promote individual products and comply with Public Broadcasting System standards, and noted that no Sesame Street characters are used in ads. McDonald's said its funding is part of its promotion of literacy and the funding helps to ensure continuation of the program. QwikFIND aap07k

Calif. Lottery issues yet another RFP

The California Lottery, making its third attempt at a review, asked for agency input on a preliminary request for proposal for its $100 million, four-year account. This time it indicated that it may not necessarily accept the lowest priced bid, and state decision-makers were given more discretion in awarding the contract by dropping a previous points-based scoring system. The draft RFP was developed after the commission received input from agencies and an outside advisory committee. However, the lottery indicated it was unable by law to comply with agency requests for assistance on the technicalities of agency-ownership requirements-a point that tripped up agencies in the past-and cautioned, "an agency must assume ultimate responsibility for full disclosure." The proposal also included a gag order against any participating agencies from speaking with the media. A decision is planned for early next year. Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, Los Angeles, will continue as the Lottery's agency in the interim. QwikFIND aap07o

Kmart unveils first ads from new shops

Kmart Corp. goes in a multicultural direction with its corporate campaign from its new agency. The effort, from Grey Global Group, African-American agency Carol H. Williams Advertising and Hispanic shop WING Latino Group, broke Oct. 19 during the broadcast of the first game of the World Series. Spots focus on the diversity of customers and Kmart's exclusive brands, including Martha Stewart Everyday, Joe Boxer and Thalia Sodi. Both Ms. Stewart and Ms. Sodi make appearances in the ads. The spots, tagged "Kmart. Right Here. Right Now," have also been adapted for the Hispanic market and the ads' images will be used for in-store advertising, circulars and online at Kmart split with Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day in July, following an out-of-court settlement in a dispute over $5.4 million in unpaid media fees.

Drug office takes ecstasy on in ads

The Partnership for A Drug-Free America won a $50 million three-year commitment from Comcast to air anti-drug ads and also announced a series of public service spots aimed at ecstasy use from McKee Walwork Henderson, Albuquerque, N.M., and from Gotham, New York. The McKee spots suggest parents talk to kids about the drug, while the Gotham spot starts by mimicking a pharmaceutical ad, then talks about the dangers of the drug. Comcast Cable President Steve Burke is the nephew of longtime Partnership Chairman James E. Burke.

Goodbye AOL, and hello TWX

Time Warner, the world's largest media company, unveiled a new corporate logo and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "TWX" on Oct. 16. The company's corporate board approved the name change from AOL Time Warner to Time Warner on Sept. 18, saying it took the action to help the troubled America Online Internet service better focus on its own brand identity. Lippincott Mercer, New York, was hired to create the logo; no ads targeting investors and shareholders were planned. QwikFIND aap08d

Rainbow DBS launches Voom

Rainbow DBS, the satellite service division of Cablevision Systems Corp., on Oct. 15 introduced Voom, a TV service offering an array of high-definition programming to customers in the continental U.S. Initially, Voom will offer 21 HDTV channels as well as cable channels including A&E, AMC and others. By early 2004, Voom will have 39 HD channels and 88 standard-definition channels. Marketing of the new service, handled by eight Interpublic Group of Cos.' agencies, also kicked off Oct. 15. Lowe, New York, is the lead shop, joined by the Sloan Group for direct and retail marketing; R/GA for interactive services; Weber Shandwick for public relations; Initiative Media for media planning and buying; and FutureBrand for naming and visual identity. Jack Morton Worldwide is handling trade shows.


Interpublic Group of Cos. last week cancelled all previously scheduled meetings with brokerage firms and institutional investors between now and its third-quarter earnings release Nov. 11. The move came as Interpublic reorganizes its investor-relations function following the departure of Senior VP-Investor Relations Susan Watson, whose duties were assumed by Interpublic's Financial Relations Board unit (AA, Oct. 13). An Interpublic spokesman declined to comment. . ... As the Senate readies to act on spam legislation, action that could take place as soon as this week, marketers and ad agencies are signing on to voluntary curbs already approved by the Direct Marketing Association. The American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers backed a series of guidelines nearly identical to those the DMA earlier approved. Marketers, agencies and business groups want national legislation to avoid the effect of a new California anti-spam legislation.

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