The Week

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Less than a month after abruptly switching ad agencies, Burger King Corp.'s president resigned last week after 13 months on the job. Brad Blum, the No. 2 burger chain's CEO, announced the move by Robert Nilsen "with mixed emotions" in a company wide voice-mail message. Mr. Nilsen joined Burger King in January 2003 as part of Mr. Blum's new management team and led a number of efforts aimed at improving restaurant operations. Last month when Burger King replaced WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, with MDC Partners' Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, executives said the chain was refocusing on its core customers and was ready to execute on training it launched late last year. Burger King soon will upgrade its Whopper sandwich, roll out new salads, a fried chicken sandwich called TenderCrisp and an Angus Steakburger. Franchisees estimated that same-store sales had dropped 8% systemwide under Mr. Blum. Meanwhile, rivals McDonald's Corp. and Wendy's have posted gains and taken share from Burger King. QwikFIND aap37b

Oscar ads not as racy as Bowl spots

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science and ABC are playing it safe with advertising on the 76th annual Oscars show. "We always refer to the Academy Awards as the `Super Bowl for Women,"' said Shari Cohen, co-executive director national broadcast group at WPP Group's MindShare. And since it is for women, expect much fewer fart jokes. According to Geri Wang, senior VP-prime time sales at the network, all Oscar advertising is carefully vetted before it is scheduled. The awards broadcast was moved up a month to Feb. 29, much closer to TV advertising's biggest event, the Super Bowl. One top media said it would be far too expensive for advertisers to produce great creative ads for high-profile back-to-back specials. "But if the Super Bowl and the NFL start censoring the advertising," said the media buyer, "maybe they'll shift their good stuff to the awards." Last year, the Oscars pulled in 33 million viewers down from 41.8 million viewers in 2002. See full list of Oscar advertisers at QwikFIND aap37w

`New York' nabs Moss as editor

Bruce Wasserstein's New York Media Holdings brought in Adam Moss, 46, an assistant managing editor of The New York Times and the former editor of its Sunday magazine, to be editor in chief of New York. He replaces Caroline Miller, who will leave Feb. 20 after a seven-year run at the weekly. Also in the running, said executives familiar with the situation: former New Yorker and Vanity Fair editor and Talk Chairman Tina Brown. Through her assistant, Ms. Brown cited the demands of her CNBC talk show and said, "There was no way in the world I could do a TV show and the magazine. It was not an option for me." QwikFIND aap37a

Microsoft work to Wunderman, MRM

Microsoft is consolidating its customer relationship management business-worth an estimated $400 million-with two main shops Young & Rubicam's Wunderman and McCann-Erickson's MRM, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., according to executives close to the account. The company had previously worked with a myriad of smaller shops. The move follows software rival IBM Corp.'s announcement it was moving its entire global direct business out of Y&R's Wunderman and into WPP Group sibling OgilvyOne. The move was agreed in advance of the eye-popping Microsoft win. Microsoft's advertising is handled by the San Francisco office of McCann-Erickson. QwikFIND aap37z, aap37t


Reebok International Chief Marketing Officer Micky Pant, credited with helping boost sales by pairing the company's athletic shoes with hip-hop stars, resigned last week. The company said in a statement that Mr. Pant intends to return to his native India to start his own marketing company. Dennis Baldwin, senior VP-global footwear, will replace him. QwikFIND aap36v ... McDonald's Corp. signed pro basketball star Yao Ming to a multiyear endorsement deal. QwikFIND aap37u ... BBDO Worldwide named John Osborn exec VP-director of integrated marketing as the new president-CEO for its flagship New York office, replacing Bill Katz, who exited the agency last month. QwikFIND aap36u ... Interpublic's Foote Cone & Belding named Lynne Seid, chief client officer at BBDO Worldwide, New York as president for its New York office, a position that has been vacant since July 2003. QwikFIND aap36x

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