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LeBron James' LRMR holds marketing summit

[New York] NBA star LeBron James' new marketing company, LRMR Marketing, will hold its first annual sports-marketing summit July 10-11 in Mr. James' hometown of Akron, Ohio. More than 125 attendees are expected, including some of the chief marketing officers from such global companies as Nike, Coca-Cola Co. and Microsoft Corp., said Maverick Carter, chief of LRMR Marketing. Mr. James will be in attendance.

BK stacks up meat for new burger line

[Miami] Burger King Corp., in starting its first fiscal year as a public company, this week launches BK Stackers, simply dressed multi-patty burgers of meat-and-cheese-and-meat-and-cheese and bacon-up to four quarter-pound patties-aimed at a subset of its Superfan audience. In doing so the No. 2 burger chain becomes the first to put a four-patty burger on its permanent menu.

Chrysler spending $225M on Zetsche ads

[Detroit] Chrysler Group and its regional-dealer groups will spend an estimated $225 million to advertise its Employee Pricing Plus July sale. The creative from Omnicom Group's BBDO Detroit, Troy, Mich., blends deal, corporate and branded advertising delivered with a humorous punch from Dieter Zetsche. As first reported by Advertising Age, Chrysler Group's former president-CEO and now chairman of German parent DaimlerChrysler, is the jovial front man.

Interpublic stock takes Friday beating

[New York] Interpublic Group of Cos.' stock June 30 closed at $8.35, its second-lowest adjusted closing price since 1993. The beleaguered agency group June 30 also hit an intraday low of $8.30, its lowest intraday trading price since March 2003. Interpublic fell 13.5% in the first half, making it one of the poorest performers on the AdMarket 50 (See P. 8).

Kirshenbaum Bond closing San Fran office

[San Francisco] Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners is closing its San Francisco outpost effective July 31 in order to focus attention on growing national business out of the New York office, an agency spokesperson said. The five West Coast employees will not be maintained. For about a year, the office had been functioning as a service office for New York. The agency will still, however, have a presence in San Francisco as Mark Fithian, partner at the interactive and direct-marketing unit Dotglu, is relocating there.

PGA playoff system to offer $10M FedEx Cup

[New York] The PGA Tour announced a new playoff format for 2007 in which the top 144 players will accumulate points to enter the final four tournaments of the year-where $35 million in prize money will be available, including a record $10 million payout to the winner of what will be called the FedEx Cup Championship. The Tour is hoping the final four events and a chase for the title-similar to what Nascar did two years ago in revamping its Nextel Cup championship-will raise interest in golf's late-season events, which traditionally go unnoticed after the fourth and final "major" tournament of the year, the PGA Championship, is played in late August.

AIDS group demands Pfizer pull Viagra ads

[New York] AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Los Angeles, is again asking Pfizer to pull a Viagra ad that the nation's largest AIDS/HIV organization says contributes to the spread of the disease. The print ad in question appears in the July 10 edition of Newsweek magazine and features copy that tells men to "enjoy what it can do to help you improve your sex life." Said AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein: "Viagra is supposed to be a prescription drug to treat men with a diagnosed medical condition, but you'd never know it from this ad, which openly promotes its use as a sex-life enhancer and confidence-builder for all men." The organization asked Pfizer and the FDA to pull a previous Viagra campaign. Neither Pfizer nor the FDA have responded to AHF.

Coors, Weber pair up for summer promotion

[Golden, Colo.] Coors Light and Weber-Stephens Products Co., maker of Weber grills, have agreed to a multi-year partnership aimed at exploiting each brand's iconic summertime status. The deal calls for three free co-branded grilling cookbooks to be distributed in stores through October. Displays will also hype Coors' new "Frost Brew Liner" cans. "Consumers know that barbecue and ice-cold beer are synonymous with hot summer days," said John Nachbur, channel marketing director for Coors Brewing Co., in a statement. "Through our partnership with Weber we are offering consumers the ingredients and tips they need for the perfect summertime party."

Alan J. Jacobs, 83, dies of heart failure

[Newport Beach, Calif.] Alan J. Jacobs who helped to build Bozell & Jacobs into a major advertising and public-relations company, died of congestive heart failure June 20 in his home. He was 83. Mr. Jacobs was with the agency's Chicago office for 27 years, eventually becoming exec VP before moving to California to head the agency's West Coast operations. He was also chairman of the American Advertising Federation from 1980-81.

FYI ...

Interpublic has agreed to take a small stake in social network Facebook and will participate in marketing programs on the site, which is aimed at college students. Interpublic's stake is less than 0.5% of the company. Interpublic clients will take part in a variety of programs, including online advertising and promotions as well as market research and content creation. ... Belgium-based InBev has put the global creative duties for its Becks brand up for review, forcing Leo Burnett, Chicago, to defend the account. The news came days after the Publicis Groupe shop lost the $225 million Cadillac account. Burnett has held the Becks account since 2002. "We're proud of the business-building work we've done for Becks, and we will aggressively defend the global assignment," said a Burnett spokeswoman. ... PetSmart has hired Mary L. Miller as chief marketing officer, succeeding Ken Hall, according to knowledgeable executives. Mr. Hall in January was made senior VP-merchandising, and Ms. Miller, most recently VP-customer loyalty for Best Buy, is expected to join the company in late July or early August.
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