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[Dulles, Va.] "Life needs" is the tagline for ads supporting the new AOL 9.0 version of AOL Time Warner's America Online. TV ads, part of a large multimedia effort for 9.0, break Aug. 18 from Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York. Media spending for 9.0 is expected to be more than $100 million. The tagline seeks to build an emotional bond with consumers by showing how 9.0 features, such as SuperBuddies and TopSpeed, fit into people's lives. In one of at least 15 spots, a couple in a budding workplace romance is shown sending instant messages to one another using SuperBuddy aliases. The ad uses the tag "Life needs discretion."

Chrysler minivans link with `Rings' DVD release

[Los Angeles] AOL Time Warner's New Line Home Video said it signed DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group for a marketing tie-in promotion. Executives familiar with the deal said it involved Chrysler brand minivans and the Aug. 26 DVD release of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." Chrysler declined to comment. BBDO Worldwide, Troy, Mich., and Omnicom sibling Arnell Group, New York, handle. Chrysler did not return calls.

Agency review begins at new Sports Authority

[Englewood, Colo.] Sporting goods retailer The Sports Authority, the combined company that will result from the merger this summer of Gart Sports Co. with Sports Authority, is reviewing agencies for its advertising assignment, a spokeswoman said. As separate companies, Gart spent an estimated $69 million in measured media last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, while The Sports Authority spent $13 million. WestWayne, Atlanta and Tampa, is the incumbent for Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Sports Authority. Independent Kelly, Scott & Madison, Chicago, handles media buying for Gart. Gart handles creative in-house and operates under the Gart, Oshman's and Sportmart brands and intends to consolidate those stores gradually under the Sports Authority brand. The new company will be based in Engelwood.

Toyota Canada launches TV-less Echo campaign

[Toronto] Toyota Canada is launching its new Echo hatchback in a $5 million integrated push by Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi here that avoids TV in favor of cinema ads, print and some unconventional buys for an auto campaign (on convenience store floors and ice cube freezers). The campaign target is the under-30 car buyer. Three spots that broke in theaters Aug. 1 show unexpected items in the hatchback and end with the tag "What goes in the hatch is up to you." See the spot at QwikFIND aao87u.

Yum Brands names field marketing shops

[Louisville, Ky.] Yum Brands' Taco Bell has awarded 30 of its 33 field marketing assignments in its review, the company confirmed. Nine Midwest Taco Bell advertising associations tapped startup Ebel, Signorelli & Welke, Chicago, putting that shop's total Taco Bell billings at about $12 million. Ebel, Signorelli already handles some field marketing for Yum Brands' KFC. WPP Group's Media Edge, New York, and Rives-Carlberg, Houston, each picked up seven co-ops; J&A Partners, Brentwood, Tenn., also a KFC shop, added three; Landers & Partners, Clearwater. Fla., and Omnicom Group's Tracy Locke Partners, Dallas, each added two co-ops.

EA opens ad campaign for `Madden NFL' game

[Redwood City, Calif.] Video-game software marketer Electronic Arts is backing the August launch of its Madden NFL 2004 with a series of 10 spots from Odiorne, Wilde, Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, with the tagline "Playmakers win championships." The first spot broke Aug. 3 during ABC's National Football League Hall of Fame telecast and features NFL players like Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The ads will run through yearend on ABC's Walt Disney Co. siblings ESPN, ESPN2, ABC's "Monday Night Football," Viacom's MTV and CBS and News Corp.'s Fox. The game goes on sale Aug. 14. Spending was not disclosed.

Conn. legislature kills its 3% advertising tax

[Hartford, Conn.] Connecticut's 3% tax on advertising agency creative and production services, in effect for just three months, was abandoned in a two-year state budget plan enacted by the state legislature last week. The 3% tax was already smaller in size and reach than the 6% levy tax advocates had originally proposed, which would have covered media purchases as well as agency creative and production.

FYI . . .

Burger King Corp. reversed its decision to stop selling Frozen Coke, according to franchisees. They said CEO Brad Blum, in a voice mail to franchisees, said Burger King and Coca-Cola Co. reached "a fair and equitable financial outcome" in meetings with Coca-Cola President Steven Heyer. Mr. Blum also told franchisees the frozen beverages, sold under the Icee brand name since May, have been performing "better than anticipated." Burger King said it would stop selling the slushy drinks following Coca-Cola's admission that employees rigged a market test of the drink. ... WPP Group closed its acquisition of Cordiant Communications Group Aug. 1. WPP will disclose this week how Cordiant assets will be divided within the holding company, said executives familiar with the situation. ... Brokerage firm Edward Jones said it is searching for an agency to handle its creative account. Spending was estimated to be worth between $25 million to $30 million, including consumer advertising, direct-response creative, and media and interactive work in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. See QwikFIND aao89n. ... Beverage distributor Multimedia this week unveils energy drink Liquid Ice with actor-rapper Ice T fronting the effort. Backed with a $2.5 million marketing effort, including street marketing, cable TV, out of home and print ads in Tongue, Vibe and other urban publications, the $2.49 energy drink is aimed at the urban market. ... Ford Motor Co. teases the Sept. 4 arrival of its all new Ford F-150 pickup in a :30 commercial that broke Aug. 1.The brand's pitchman, Toby Keith, gets lots of exposure, playing all the roles in the spot from WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, shot at Ford's Proving Grounds in Arizona. Read more at QwikFIND aao89s

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