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[White Plains, N.Y.] Heineken USA plans to roll out Heineken Premium Light nationwide next April. The marketer, which imports Heineken and Amstel Light, is one of several importers trying to cash in on the light beer segment in the U.S.

Orange considers entering U.S. market

[New York] Orange, the European-based mobile-services provider, is exploring a move into the U.S. market. Orange, now conducting a review for a global rebranding effort, has also held discussions with New York-based ad agencies about expanding into the U.S., according to executives familiar with the talks. A company spokeswoman denied the move, saying, "We have no plans in the U.S." At the moment, Orange, which is owned by France Telecom, has a corporate business in the U.S. called Equant and some research and development facilities.

Wired opens retail outlet in New York

[San Francisco] Conde Nast Publications' Wired will open a retail store in Manhattan from Nov. 18 through Dec. 24, said Publisher Drew Schutte. The Wired Store will carry 65 products, ranging from Motorola's Pebl phone to a new Adidas women's shoe. Wired, which two years ago started a "NextFest" expo highlighting new technologies, will explore opening stores in other cities.

World Series rating disappointment for Fox

[New York] The four-game sweep in the World Series may have been great for the Sox, but not for Fox. The network averaged an 11.1/19 Nielsen rating for the Chicago White Sox-Houston Astros series, making it the lowest-ever average rating in World Series history. It was down 30% from a 15.8/26 for last year's Boston Red Sox-St. Louis Cardinals series. But the four games of this year's World Series rated 0.9% higher than the first four games in the seven-game 2002 World Series, which was the lowest-rated ever.

Sorrell gets deadline for Aegis takeover decision

[London] The Takeover Panel, a U.K. regulatory body that monitors takeover activity, said Martin Sorrell's WPP Group and potential private- equity partner, San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman, have until noon on Nov. 25 to decide whether to make an offer for Aegis Group. Aegis, which has been the subject of takeover interest since late September, requested that the regulatory group take action so that its fate can be decided reasonably quickly.

McD's uses local joe against Dunkin Donuts

[Boston] Although McDonald's Corp. plans to launch premium coffee nationwide in March, its New England region on Nov. 1 is skipping the Mc-branded java for a specially tailored local brew that may better compete with Dunkin' Donuts, which controls up to 60% share in the region. McDonald's operators will sell a Fair Trade Certified organic blend of locally popular Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee under the Newman's Own Organics Blend name. The new java, in regular and decaf varieties, will sell in 650 McDonald's restaurants in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Albany, N.Y. See QwikFIND aar07o

Helio taps Deutsch for business launch

[San Francisco] Helio, one of a number of new niche wireless-service players, has hired Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, for its advertising account. A Helio spokeswoman declined to disclose spending, but said Helio has $440 million in venture capital funding, and a good chunk of that money will be spent to develop the brand. Helio is a joint effort of Internet service provider Earthlink and SK Telecom. It promises to bring cutting-edge mobile devices and offerings from the technologically advanced South Korean market to the U.S. Like ESPN Mobile and Amp'd, Helio is targeting young consumers looking for entertainment and other high-end content on mobile devices. See QwikFIND aar08a

Comedy Central launches Web broadband channel

[New York] In the latest launch of a broadband channel on the Web, Comedy Central will roll out MotherLoad on Nov. 1. The new property is a response to advertiser demand for more content, offering "more ways to be in the brand," said Jeff Lucas, Comedy Central's advertising sales chief. MotherLoad will feature original content and clips from popular shows such as "The Daily Show." Verizon Broadband is the launch sponsor. Other advertisers are Verizon Wireless, Volkswagen and U.S. Army. Most ads will be :30 video units. See QwikFIND aar06p

FYI ...

Ed Abramson, VP-publisher, the Hachette Automotive Group, is retiring. Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. named Robert Houghtlin, associate publisher at Car and Driver, and John Driscoll, associate publisher at Road & Track, VP-publishers at their respective titles, assuming duties that had been handled by Mr. Abramson. ... Manny Gonzalez joins MDC Partners' Zyman Group on Nov. 14 as a managing consultant at M2H, the Hispanic unit that is the fastest-growing division of the marketing strategy firm. Mr. Gonzalez was brand director-Scotch at Diageo North America for both the Hispanic and general market. ... Welch's has shifted its roughly $20 million media account from Havas' MPG to WPP Group's Maxus Communications. According to a spokesman, the marketer embarked on a review three months ago to evaluate its media buying and planning efforts and chose Maxus in large part because of its analytical and research capabilities. ... Timex Corp. last month parted ways with agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and has taken its marketing in-house. A spokesman for Timex said no review is under way to find a new agency. The watch marketer, in the midst of an effort to drive up the fashion quotient of its reliable time pieces, spent $6.5 million on measured media in 2004 and $1.5 million on media during the first half of 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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