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[New York] The American Association of Advertising Agencies Media Conference kicks off in Orlando, Fla., on March 1 with expectations of record attendance. Organizers are projecting that more than 1,400 executives and 104 exhibitors will turn out for the conference, the theme of which is "Now, Soon and the Future." Speakers include media-buying bigs such as GroupM's Irwin Gotlieb and Publicis Groupe's Jack Klues, and media sellers like Google's Tim Armstrong and ABC Television's Mike Shaw. See daily coverage on

Six Flags taps MindShare to handle $55M media biz

[New York] Theme-park operator Six Flags selected WPP Group's MindShare to handle strategy and media buying, following a review. Other contenders were not disclosed. Doner, Southfield, Mich., was the incumbent. Spending on the account is estimated at $55 million. Six Flags in December brought in a new CEO following a management shakeup late last year, and the company is in the midst of a turnaround. In January it hired WPP's OgilvyOne Worldwide to handle direct and interactive duties, and is in the midst of conducting a review for its creative account. Doner is not participating. See QwikFIND aar45d

Home Depot puts direct, interactive up for review

[Atlanta] Home Depot has put its direct-marketing and interactive business into review following a split with agency-of-record DDB Chicago. DDB, a unit of the Omnicom Group, had handled the business since 2002 and will still work on some projects. Interpublic Group of Cos.'s MRM Worldwide and Draft, as well as independent Digitas, are chasing the business, according to executives familiar with the situation. See QwikFIND aar44p

Initiative's Koerner moves to Interpublic

[New York] Initiative Worldwide media guru Stacey Lynn Koerner is moving to Interpublic Media to run a practice dedicated to understanding brands, media technologies and content and translating that into communications strategies. Ms. Koerner, now Initiative's exec VP-director of global research integration, will be president of the consumer-experience practice. She will lead a team of eight specialists that will work with Interpublic Group of Cos.' two media agency brands, Initiative and Universal McCann.

Colgate taps Cook to be next CEO

[New York] Colgate-Palmolive Co. made official what many have long expected, announcing Ian Cook, currently president-chief operating officer, will become CEO. Current Colgate Chairman-CEO Reuben Mark announced the move in a talk at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 24. Mr. Cook will become CEO sometime in 2007 while Mr. Mark, 67, stays on as chairman for "a short time" after that.

Gatfield named CEO of Lowe Worldwide

[New York] Interpublic Group of Cos. named Stephen Gatfield CEO of its troubled Lowe Worldwide network. Current CEO Tony Wright will take the role of chairman and report to Mr. Gatfield, who will retain his title of Interpublic exec VP-network operations. Other changes are also likely, including a reduction in the amount of offices that comprise the Lowe network. Lowe now operates in about 85 markets.

Former `Men's Journal' editor sues Wenner

[New York] Wenner Media was slapped with a lawsuit from Michael Caruso, former editor in chief of its Men's Journal. Mr. Caruso is seeking $5 million for an alleged breach of contract. The suit alleges that Mr. Caruso, 44, was terminated for reasons including age discrimination (his successor, Tom Foster, is 32) and that his contract entitled him to a full year's base pay of $400,000 after any firing without cause. It also says the company owes him incentive pay for 2005. A Wenner spokesman said the company would fight the suit.

`Ebony' circ falls short, may have to offer rebates

[Chicago] Ebony, the flagship title of Johnson Publishing Co., could be forced to rebate millions of dollars to advertisers after falling short of its circulation guarantee during the second half of 2005, reports Crain's Chicago Business. According to data released last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, Ebony's average paid monthly circulation was 1.49 million, below the 1.6 million Johnson had promised advertisers. Citing a rule change by the ABC, a Johnson spokeswoman said Ebony has also revised its circulation down for 2003 and 2004, creating retrospective shortfalls for those years as well. Last year's circulation shortfall could spoil a strong advertising year for Ebony. According to the Magazine Publishers of America, Ebony's ad sales rose 13%, to $76.2 million.

A Johnson spokeswoman said rebate negotiations are being handled on a case-by-case basis. For 2006, Ebony has cut the guarantee to 1.45 million, the spokeswoman said. That's the second such cut since 2003.

GM corporate spot gets 83% positive

[Detroit] General Motors Corp., which is battling back from a disastrous, money-losing year in its key U.S. market, is scoring well with consumers via a national, corporate image TV spot that broke Feb. 8, according to auto consultant CNW Marketing Research. Positive responses to the ads were 83% among new-vehicle intenders under 35-years-old and 76% for those surveyed over 50. CNW said the figure is rarely above 40%; typically the figure for those holding a positive view of GM is in the 30% range. Among all those viewing the ad, the positive view of GM is 69%. The spot features "AM Radio" by Everclear, a popular group with younger consumers. Dubbed "Now and Then," it shows a montage of classic and futuristic models.

FYI ...

Online info auto site today will announce the launch of auto lifestyle social networking site with blogs and chats for car buffs at Edmunds expects traffic and free membership to grow as members invite others, a spokeswoman said. American Honda Motor Co. is the first advertiser. ... The Federal Trade Commission said in a public notice it intends to formally request extensive information on food marketers advertising and marketing practices to kids and also is seeking additional information from the public.

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