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[Los Angeles] Brad Ball, who's been a marketer at Time Warner's Hollywood studio Warner Bros. for the past six years, is leaving that role to hang out his own branded entertainment shingle with Imax and Time Inc.'s Time magazine as flagship clients. Mr. Ball is in talks with an unidentified holding company to take a stake in Ball Entertain-ment Group, giving its client roster first look at the company's projects. The unit, based at the Burbank studio at least until year's end, will gather corporate sponsors for Imax movies and will help create content around advertisers, as was the case for "Nascar 3D: The Imax Experience." Mr. Ball was the point person in the Warner Bros.-produced movie, which has broken Imax records in its first two weeks, bringing in some $4 million on 68 screens, said Imax president Greg Foster. First up for Time will be a newsmagazine show looking at the story behind the cover stories. The series is intended for cable but doesn't have an outlet yet. Mr. Ball, whose roots are in advertising, went to Warner Bros. after a three-year marketing stint at McDonald's Corp. The Warner Bros. corporate marketing group he is leaving is likely to be reorganized.

Leggett to step down from Old Navy creative role

[San Francisco] Dennis Leggett will step down as senior VP-creative director for Gap's Old Navy brand, an Old Navy spokesman confirmed. Mr. Leggett, a 14-year veteran at Gap, joined Old Navy when the chain started ten years ago. He was in meetings and could not be reached at press time. A spokesman said Mr. Leggett is working on a summer campaign for the retailer and will stay on through Old Navy's transition to its first outside ad agency. The $150 million agency search was recently narrowed to Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York; WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles. A decision is expected in mid-April.

Milk PEP taps Draft to handle promotions

[Washington] The National Fluid Milk Processors' Education Program has tapped Interpublic's Draft, Chicago, to handle promotional efforts, said Julie Buric, senior director of promotions, International Dairy Foods Association, which is involved with the Milk PEP program. The account moved from Flair Communications Agency, Chicago, following a review. Spending on the business was $43 million in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Draft siblings Lowe, New York, and Weber Shandwick, Chicago, handle advertising and public relations, respectively, for Milk PEP.

Times Co. offers joint buy for `IHT,' `NYT' insert

[New York] The New York Times Co. is creating a joint ad buy in Europe for the International Herald Tribune and new weekly inserts of The New York Times in local European papers. Last week the U.K.'s 900,000-circulation Daily Telegraph launched an eight-page weekly section called The New York Times International Weekly. A similar Times section has run in French newspaper Le Monde since April, 2002, and papers in Germany, Spain and Italy will be added in a few weeks. The IHT's 150,000-circulation European edition and the five Times sections will be offered as a single buy called EuroReach, coordinated by the IHT. See QwikFIND aap49k

USTA breaks $3M effort using non-tennis celebs

[White Plains, N.Y.] The United States Tennis Association next month breaks a comprehensive $3 million national campaign for tennis participation called "Come Out Swinging." The print ads-10 million 8-page color inserts in a dozen national magazines and 50 major newspapers-and a 30-second TV spot will feature Nascar driver Jeff Gordon, boxer Roy Jones Jr., TV personality Daisy Fuentes and "60 Minutes" journalist Mike Wallace. The goal of the campaign is to drive new and casual fans to to find information on local centers where they can learn to play tennis in a new program created by the USTA. The spending is 20 times more than the USTA spent on tennis participation marketing last year. The campaign is a joint effort between the USTA's in-house marketing team and Vigilante, New York.

Coke's mid-calorie soda gets christened as C2

[Atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. has named its reduced calorie cola C2 and is planning to launch the brand ahead of the July 4 holiday, according to executives close to the marketer. Tested under the name Coke Ultra, the so-called mid-calorie carbonated soft drink is expected to have about half the sugar, calories and carbohydrates of Coca-Cola Classic. WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, will handle the advertising and Interpublic's Momentum, St. Louis, will handle promotion. A Coca-Cola spokesman said, the company "cannot confirm or deny any speculation."

Evian launches $10M print, outdoor effort

[Tarrytown, N.Y.] The Danone Group's bottled water, Evian, today launches a $10 million print and outdoor campaign running in the U.S. and Canada that repositions the brand from simple beverage to health and beauty aid. The effort, from Havas' Euro RSCG MVMBS, New York, and the first from the agency's recently named executive creative director Kevin Roddy, carries the tagline, "Evian: Your Natural Source of Youth." Evian's last brand campaign, "L'Original," ran for two years worldwide, ending in 2002.

Cablevision contacting agencies for Voom biz

[Jericho, New York] Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Rainbow DBS is contacting agencies for work on its subscription high-definition programming service, Voom, launched in October 2003, according to several executives contacted by Matchworks, the agency consultant handling the new review. Last May, Cablevision awarded advertising and other marketing communications responsibilities to a collection of Interpublic Group of Cos.' shops, including Lowe, New York, as the lead creative agency; Weber Shandwick, for public relations; R/GA for digital communications; and events and entertainment marketing by Jack Morton Worldwide and Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, respectively. Spending on Voom was under $1 million in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. A Lowe spokesman confirmed that Lowe is no longer Voom's advertising agency. A Cablevision spokeswoman refused to comment on the matter and calls to Matchworks were not returned. See QwikFIND aap49o

FYI ...

The U.S. Army, which is readying to rebid its advertising contract originally set to expire June 30, extended its contract with Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA's to September 30, the end of its fiscal year, to give it additional time to rebid the contract. ... The Republican National Committee, which has been featuring a Kerry vs. Kerry boxing match game on its Web site, added fighting promoter Don King's voice to the game. "Ladies and Gentleman, what you have just witnessed tonight is some of the greatest dancing, bobbing, weaving, sticking, moving and ducking by Kerry. It was certainly entertaining," Mr. King says at one point.

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