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[Cincinnati] Procter & Gamble Co. will use its product integration on NBC's "Apprentice 2" Sept. 23 to launch a new vanilla mint flavor of Crest toothpaste, according to retail buyers. Bryan McCleary, director-external relations for P&G, said "Apprentice" contenders will be working on the launch of a new toothpaste, but declined to name the product.

Schwab narrows review for $95 million account

[San Francisco] Discount brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Co. has narrowed the search for an ad agency for its $95 million account to seven shops: independents Gardner Nelson & Partners, New York, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.; Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, and Saatchi & Saatchi, New York; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors Cosmopulos, Boston; Havas' Euro RSCG, New York; and Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide, New York. Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., is handling the review. Incumbent Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, declined to defend. A decision is expected by Thanksgiving. A Schwab spokesman declined to comment.

Bollore eyes de Pouzilhac friend for Havas board seat

[Paris] French corporate raider Vincent Bollore, who holds more than 10% of holding company Havas (see story, P. 15) and has been offered two seats on the company's board, has suggested a former colleague of Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac for one of the seats, said a knowledgeable executive. Pierre Dauzier, who years ago worked at Conseil Havas and now works for Mr. Bollore, may be one of the new directors. Mr. Bollore must declare his intentions for Havas to the French government by Sept. 21. After that Havas' board is expected to meet and discuss how the board will handle the additional directors.

Circuit City breaks first work from Doner

[Richmond, Va.] Circuit City Stores will break its first campaign from new agency Doner, Southfield, Mich., and introduce a customer rewards program next month. The Doner effort, tagged "Just what I needed," will feature the 1980s tune by The Cars and will be integrated across all media and online channels used by the electronics chain, said Chief Marketing Officer Ernest V. Speranza. In a conference call with analysts, Mr. Speranza called it "the strongest marketing program we've ever had." Circuit City spent $287 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Efforts will also include a Hispanic market campaign, from Publicis' Bromley Communications.

Women's date mag to launch in February

[New York] Tango, an independently backed female-aimed consumer title focusing on relationships, is readying its debut issue, which is slated to hit newsstands on Feb. 1, 2005. Tango's publisher is Ellen Abramowitz, most recently publisher of Hearst Magazines' Seventeen, and its editor-in-chief is Elise O'Shaugnessy, formerly executive editor at Conde Nast Publications' Vanity Fair. The magazine will publish four issues in 2005 with a rate base of 100,000, and the founders say that Gucci, Brioni and Liz Lange Maternity have signed on as advertisers.

Shell hears final pitches for Quaker State account

[Houston] Shell Oil Co.'s Quaker State brand is hearing final presentations this month for its creative account. While no firm date is set for an announcement on the winner, a spokeswoman said late last week a decision will be made in the next three weeks. Vying for the account are: incumbent, independent Tucker Hampel Stefanides & Partners, New York; independent Doner, Southfield, Mich.; WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit; and Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey. J. Walter Thompson is Shell's global agency. TBWA won sibling Pennzoil's account last year. Quaker State spent $7 million in measured media through May 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

PG&E names finalists for $10M ad account

[San Francisco] Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest utility, named three finalists in its advertising search, according to executives close to the situation. They are Omnicom's BBDO/West, San Francisco; independent Venables, Bell & Partners, New York; and incumbent WPP's J. Walter Thompson, San Francisco. PG&E last year spent $10.5 million in measured media, down from $12.3 million the year before, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. PG&E has indicated spending could go as high as $20 million next year. PG&E declined to comment on the pitch.

Long John Silver's, A&W moved to Element 79

[Louisville, Ky.] Yum Brands awarded consolidated creative duties for its Long John Silver's and A&W restaurant chains to Omnicom Group's Element 79 Partners, Chicago, according to executives close to the situation. The award follows an account review. Element 79 Partners referred call to the marketer, which didn't return calls. Another Omnicom agency, BBDO Worldwide, New York, handled the advertising account for the seafood restaurant for the past two years, while MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, New York, had the root beer chain. BBDO declined to participate in the competition, according to an agency spokesman.

FYI ...

MGM Mirage Advertising selected Grey Global Group's MediaCom LA to handle media planning and buying for its Bellagio, Treasure Island and Mirage properties, according to the agency. Spending on the account was not disclosed. Interpublic's Initiative previously handled the business. ... The McDonald's Operators of Chicago and Northwest Indiana has tapped Omnicom Group's OMD, the fast-food company's global and national agency, to handle its media buying and planning. The decision was the result of a three-month search that began when Publicis' Starcom resigned the account in June. Billings were not disclosed.

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