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[New York] In the strongest indication that direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical market may be shrinking, Pfizer exercised some options on its second quarter network TV buys. A spokesman for the company confirmed the decision. The company spent $10.3 million on network TV in the second quarter of 2004 and $3.4 million in cable.

Study: Marketers rank radio last as ad medium

[Atlanta] The second phase of an advertiser-perception study released Feb. 11 at the Radio Advertising Bureau's 2005 Conference found marketers and media-planning agencies rated radio's audience measurement, schedule integrity and accountability below those of broadcast TV, cable, newspapers, magazines and Internet. The research was commissioned by the RAB and Arbitron. RAB President Gary Fries introduced the study as one in which the "truth is not always what we want and, more importantly, not always what we think it is."

Pepsi, Levi's mull Martha's `Apprentice'

[New York] Mark Burnett Productions is already talking to advertisers about their interest in being part of "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart," premiering on NBC this fall. According to executives with knowledge of discussions, Pepsi-Cola Co. and Levi Strauss & Co. are considering being part of show tasks. Both Pepsi and Levi's were part of the second season of "The Apprentice."

`Child,' `Parents,' `Jet' `FHM' miss rate bases

[New York] Audit reports released late last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's Child and Parents, Johnson Publishing's Jet and Emap's FHM missed their rate bases in 2003. G&J had previously attributed the rate-base misses at Child and Parents-which are 2.6% and 0.7% respectively-on faulty subscriptions sold by a third-party agent, Publishers Communications Systems, which it sued last month. Two other freshly audited G&J titles, Fitness and YM, did not miss rate base. A spokeswoman for Jet, which missed by 6.6%, was not available for comment. An FHM executive attribued the 0.1% miss to "unexpected swings" in its December `03 issue.

Discovery giving cash in lieu of make-goods

[Silver Spring, Md.] Discovery Communications' TLC, with ratings off by more than 30% season to date as its "Trading Spaces" franchise sputters, is giving back several million dollars in cash to some of its advertisers in lieu of make-goods, TelevisionWeek reports today. Joe Abruzzese, president-advertising sales for Discovery Networks U.S., would not discuss the amount, but it's likely to exceed $1 million. The move comes as last week Discovery named David Abraham exec VP-general manager of TLC. He replaces Roger Marmet, who resigned last month.

McD's settles suits over delayed oil rollout

[Oak Brook, Ill.] McDonald's Corp. will pay more than $8.5 million as part of a settlement agreement of two lawsuits over its delayed rollout of cooking oils with lower levels of trans fats, the marketer confirmed. Of those costs, the fast-food giant must spend up to $1.5 million for publishing public notices about the status of its trans fat initiatives, as well as donate $7 million to the American Heart Association. In addition to legal fees and court costs, McDonald's also will pay $15,000 to and plaintiff Katherine Fettke.

Saab to produce SUV in U.S. plant

[Detroit] General Motors Corp.'s Saab Cars USA, too reliant on its European imports and the negative currency exchange of the high euro, will start production of its first U.S.-made vehicle. The 9-7X, Saab's first sport utility, will be made in Moraine, Ohio.

USPS launches mag; Board mulls rate hike

[Washington] The U.S. Postal Service is launching Deliver, a publication devoted to the strategy and value of direct mail. Aimed at corporate marketers and advertising agencies, the circulation is approximately 350,000, according to the Postal Service. It's published by the publishing arm of the Postal Service's agency, Interpublic's Campbell Ewald, Warren, Mich. Separately, the Postal Service Board of Governors this week is expected to authorize seeking an increase from the Postal Rate Commission with the hike to be effective early next year. It wasn't clear last week how big the increase would be amidst indications that mail volume is starting to recover.

FYI ...

Sean Neall resigned unexpectedly last week as co-president of WPP Group's JWT, Detroit, but it's unclear when his last day will be, a spokeswoman said. Mr. Neall, who didn't return calls, returned to JWT in March 2003 after a six-year hiatus. He was also global business director on the agency's Ford Motor Co. account. ... Ask Jeeves this week breaks its first major campaign in four years, an effort which includes half a dozen humorous TV spots, print, online and out of home. Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, is the agency. ... Mitsubishi Motors North America has picked independent Grupo Gallegos, Long Beach, as its Hispanic agency after a review. Previously the carmaker's general market agency, Interpublic's Deutsch, translated its work into Spanish. ... Hyundai Motor America, wanting to create an event around the Oscars, is the title sponsor of the first-ever "Tribute to the Movies on Ice" in which big-name skaters perform to nominated movie songs. ... Mike Burns, vice-chairman and worldwide account director at Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, resigned last week after 25 years with the agency, a Saatchi spokeswoman said. Mary Baglivo, chief executive officer, Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, will assume his duties.

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