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[New York] Global advertising expenditures are expected to increase 5.9% to $427 billion in 2006 compared to 2005's $403 billion total, according to an analysis by Publicis Groupe's ZenithOptimedia. Of that, Internet spending will increase 23.6% to $22 billion, the biggest increase of any major media. Growth in worldwide advertising spending in 2007 compared to 2006 is projected to be flat to slightly down, with a 5.7% change to $451 billion from $427 billion.

Draft opens shop on Wal-Mart's turf

[Chicago] Marketing-services agency Draft is opening an office in Bentonville, Ark., to be closer to No. 1 retailer Wal-Mart Stores. Draft doesn't list Wal-Mart among its clients, but it handles retail promotions for suppliers including Procter & Gamble Co. Opening an office there "allows us to be more responsive," said Tina Manikas, senior exec VP at Draft. The agency, part of Interpublic Group of Cos., also is opening a Los Angeles office to service clients Kaiser Permanente and The Los Angeles Times.

Bollore has not asked for seats on Aegis board

[New York] French industrialist and Havas chairman Vincent Bollore told Ad Age that he has not asked for seats on Aegis board. Mr. Bollore, who is chief executive of conglomerate Bollore Group, and the largest shareholder in both Havas (23.9%) and Aegis (25.05%), said that being on Aegis' board would be a "conflict of interest" and that "I definitely would not ask for myself." He did not answer the question of whether he'd ask Aegis' board to give representatives of his Bollore Group seats. "For the moment, we have not had those conversations." See QwikFIND aar19l

Production issues delay Nestle Stixx launch

[Glendale, Calif.] Nestle USA will delay the planned December introduction of its Stixx line until March due to production issues. Stixx are individually wrapped 90-calorie cream-filled wafers sprinkled with bits of Butterfinger, Dark Crunch or Crunch and covered in Nestle chocolate The later launch date will prevent Nestle from getting a jump on the category (AA, Oct. 3); it will now coincide with the launch of Hershey's 60-calorie Sticks. Both are expected to spend upwards of $15 million in media to tout the new offerings.

Merrill Lynch trims U.S. ad spending forecast

[New York] Merrill Lynch cut its 2005 forecast for U.S. ad spending growth (excluding direct mail) to 2.3% (down from its September post-Katrina forecast of 3.3% and Dec. 2004 prediction of 4.6%). The cut from the September forecast mainly reflects weakness in network TV, where Merrill now predicts an 2005 spending decline of 5% vs. its previous forecast of 1.2% growth. The investment firm trimmed its 2006 ad-growth forecast to 4.5% from 5.2% in the U.S. and to 4.8% from 5.1% worldwide.

Coca-Cola to tout corporate responsibility

[Atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. on Dec. 7 is set to announce a corporate responsibility platform called "Make Every Drop Count" during its annual investor meeting, according to executives close to the marketer. The multi-media effort, from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Chicago, is said to cover topics from watershed conservation to health and wellness. Coca-Cola and the agency declined to comment.

Chicago may allow taxi cab advertising

[Chicago] The Windy City will allow advertising on taxi cabs if a proposal of Mayor Richard M. Daley passes. Under his plan, taxi fleet owners will keep 65% of the revenue and drivers the remainder. The city expects the taxi industry to use the funds to invest in fuel-efficient hybrid and wheelchair-accessible cars. The revenue will also help drivers cope with higher fuel costs. It is believed Cascio Communications, a Chicago-based transit media company, has contracts with several large taxi operators, amounting to about half the city's cabs.

Youth food marketing report due tomorrow

[Washington] Marketing groups and food companies were hoping for the best but preparing for other outcomes awaiting the arrival Dec. 6 of a major government report detailing marketing's impact on childhood obesity. Titled "Food marketing to children and youth: Threat or opportunity," the report from the Institutes of Medicine of the National Academies of Science will suggest ways that food marketers and the government can do more to promote healthy eating.

Moudry now CEO of Martin Williams

[Minneapolis] Tom Moudry, president and chief creative officer of Martin Williams, is being promoted to the CEO of the Omnicom Group agency. He is succeeding Steve Collins, who is retiring at the end of the year. Mr. Moudry is taking the reins as the agency tries to get back on track after a tough 2004, when it lost Staples and E-Trade. It picked up new clients including Payless ShoeSource this year but also lost L.L. Bean.

FYI ...

Panasonic Corp. of North America hired agency consultants Pile & Co., Boston, to handle its review for its $50 million consumer electronics account. The Secaucus, N.J. company put longtime agency WPP's Grey Worldwide on 90-day notice last week. ... The American Beverage Association released a study claiming that full-calorie soft drink sales at schools dropped by 24% from 2003 to 2004 while so-called healthier beverages like water, diet soft drinks, juices and sports drinks grew by double digits. ... Jerry D. Florence, group executive officer-membership at AARP, died of a heart attack on Nov. 28. He was 57. Prior to joining AARP, Mr. Florence held senior marketing and communications positions at companies including Nissan and General Motors' Cadillac.

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