The Week

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Panasonic and a group of 10 cable companies are banding together for a $10 million "Make It a Hi-Def Summer" ad campaign, targeting consumers who'd like to watch the first Olympic Games broadcast in high definition. This latest push for high-definition TV products and service will run from early July through August. The ads detail a promotion for $100 off HD cable service with the purchase of an eligible Panasonic HDTV set or monitor. The cable group-which includes Cablevision, Comcast, Cox and Time Warner-paired with Samsung in March for a similar campaign to get viewers to tune into the "March Madness" college basketball tournament with HDTV. QwikFIND aap77p

Subaru moves to semi-finalist list

Subaru of America made the first cut last week in the review for its creative account, as first reported by Semifinalists are said to include Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York; sibling GSD&M, Austin, Texas; WPP Group's Berlin Cameron, New York; MDC's Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York. Also said to be in the running are four Interpublic Group of Cos. shops: Foote Cone & Belding, New York; McCann Erickson, New York; Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos, Boston and New York offices. Incumbent TM Advertising, Dallas, also Interpublic, is defending. All agencies declined to comment. Neither Subaru nor its consultant, AAR Partners, New York, returned calls. QwikFIND aap77x

Miller stokes taste battle with Bud Light

Miller Brewing Co. kept the beer war hot by breaking three 15-second spots last week declaring a taste test had determined that a majority of Bud Light drinkers said Miller Lite tasted better. The spots, from roster agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York, are part of Miller's ongoing "Good Call" effort that posits Lite and Miller Genuine Draft as the better-tasting choice in beer. Miller has been hammering away at Anheuser-Busch for months, including spots that point out Miller Lite has half the carbs of Bud Light. Miller also has been running a "President of Beers" campaign, from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., in which a mock presidential candidate ridicules A-B icons, such as the Clydesdales. Budweiser bills itself as the "King of Beers." A-B has blasted back at these prior efforts; it remains to be seen how it will counter this latest attack. QwikFIND aap77c

WPP board member retires

Michael Jordan, the former CEO of CBS Corp., retired from the board of WPP Group following the company's annual meeting June 28. A statement from WPP said Mr. Jordan, 67, retired from the board to spend more time on his duties as chairman-CEO of EDS. His expected retirement had been announced in the company's annual report to shareholders. Mr. Jordan was on WPP's board since it acquired Young & Rubicam in 2000; he had been an outside director on Y&R's board since 1999. He was a member of WPP's audit committee; the company is expected to nominate a replacement for election by shareholders.

MSN revamps search offering

MSN took a shot at competing squarely with Google and Yahoo! last week as it began testing a new search engine as part of a revamping effort, which will cost the company $100 million. MSN's engine is currently powered by Yahoo's Inkomi. MSN also will cease using paid inclusion, in which advertisers pay to appear in search results and which is provided by Yahoo's Overture. Analysts say this goes a long way toward MSN distancing itself from its partners and competing more effectively against them. In addition to increasing the speed of search results, the new search home page is uncluttered with ads or other content. A drop-down box gives the searcher access to certain search databases, such as news, Hotmail and sports. A local search product is also on tap this QwikFIND aap78f


Interpublic in late June cut its remaining holding in Modem Media to 40,964 shares, or a 0.2% stake, from 148,305 shares it held at year end. Interpublic, formerly Modem's lead shareholder, last December sold 10.96 million shares in the interactive shop as one of its moves to sell noncore assets.... In a move to create one of the largest interactive ad agencies, aQuantive, Seattle, agreed to acquire SBI. Razorfish last week for $160 million. QwikFIND aap77j ... C.R. "Jack" Kopp, who was the third CEO of Leo Burnett and ran the company from 1976 to 1982 as billings more than doubled to $1.49 billion, died June 27. He was 83. ... Conde Nast Publications christened its Lucky-for-the-home title Domino. Beth Brenner, formerly of Self, will be VP-publisher and Deborah Needleman will be editor in chief. Domino is slated for a 2005 launch and will be Conde Nast's third shopping title.

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