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[Atlanta] Delta Air Lines, preparing an evaluation of its marketing business, has issued a request for information to ad industry search consultants. The airline, which spent $21.6 million last year, is seeking to evaluate industry best practices and to identify cost savings, often a precursor to a review. The airline's roster includes independent BrightHouse, Atlanta, Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group and Interpublic Group of Cos.' ModemMedia. Delta's low-cost service Song works with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners for creative and Media Kitchen, both part-owned by MDC Partners.

GMMB drops creative duties on Kerry campaign

[Washington] Omnicom's GMMB is out as one of Sen. John Kerry's two creative shops. GMMB's Jim Margolis attributed the change to fee differences. GMMB will continue buying ads for the campaign. The changes puts Bob Shrum, of Shrum Devine & Donilon, in complete charge of Kerry advertising for now. Mr. Margolis said the change was due "to proposed contract changes with the media firms." Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill issued a statement saying the campaign was disappointed about the change, "but pleased that his firm will continue to provide the best television placement in the business." See QwikFIND aap51h

PepsiCo `green dot' plays up healthy choices

[Purchase, N.Y.] PepsiCo, in the first corporate branding effort of this scale, is in the early stages of planning a consumer image campaign using a "green dot" icon to recast its perception as a junk food marketer. The December effort will use the dot as a sort of seal of approval for brands across the range of PepsiCo's brand portfolio. The total marketing budget for the effort is estimated to be about $10 million to $12 million, according to executives close to the situation. Omnicom Group's Element 79, Chicago, will handle.

Yahoo! repositions itself as `Life Engine'

[Sunnyvale, Calif.] Leading U.S. portal Yahoo! this week repositions itself as a "Life Engine," dropping its 10-year-old "Do You Yahoo?" line. The new TV and online campaign is from WPP Group's Soho Square, New York. As part of the repositioning, Yahoo! is pushing "Y!" as its icon equivalent of the Nike swoosh. Spending on the campaign was undisclosed. According to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, Yahoo! spent $38.9 million in 2003, down from $42.1 million in 2002.

Carr sues Kirshenbaum, Bond for $6 million

[San Francisco] Nigel Carr, former managing partner, general manager and third owner of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, is suing former employers Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond for more than $6 million, charging he was cheated out of his share of the reported $75 million sale of a majority stake in the San Francisco and New York agency to MDC Partners. In documents filed in San Francisco Superior Court, Mr. Carr said he was pressured and tricked by his former partners into signing a document that limited his ownership rights in the event of an agency sale. Mr. Carr, who was fired from the agency in January, also asked the court to dissolve Kirshenbaum West, currently operating with new management. Both Mr. Carr and a Kirshenbaum spokeswoman declined to comment.

Wieden & Kennedy talent create new ad agency

[El Segundo, Calif.] In a bid to better merge advertising with design, three former Wieden & Kennedy creatives are forming a new shop, 72andSunny, with offices in Southern California and Amsterdam. Greg Perlot, formerly a Microsoft ad director, is joining creatives John Boiler, Glenn Cole and Robert Nakata in the new agency. Initial clients include Bugaboo Baby Strollers, the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and the USA Network.

WPP to grant stock incentives to 19 execs

[London] WPP Group amended a compensation plan that would grant stock incentives to 19 executives, including up to $80 million to Chief Executive Martin Sorrell. The Leadership Equity Acquisition Plan would grant executives up to five shares of stock for each share they own if WPP meets performance targets against 14 other companies. The Association of British Insurers, the U.K.'s National Association of Pension Funds and Pension Investment Research Consultants had objected to a "relevance factor" that adjusted the rival companies' results before comparison. WPP amended its proposal to eliminate the factor, and postponed a shareholder meeting to vote on the plan until April 16. See QwikFIND: aap51g

Garfinkel hires lead to Kuperman speculation

[New York] Lee Garfinkel, chairman and chief creative officer of DDB, New York, part of Omnicom Group is interviewing candidates for a senior account side position at the agency. The move has led to speculation that Bob Kuperman, New York president, will move into a new role at DDB. When asked about the changes, Mr. Kuperman said, "As of right now we are staying as we are. What will happen in the future, I can't say." Commenting on new hires, Mr. Garfinkel said: "This will be the year I put my team in place."

`NY Sun' looking for extra $35 million

[New York] Though it's circulation is higher than expected, the two-year-old New York Sun is still struggling for advertisers, according to Crain's New York Business. The paper's circulation, at about 55,000, is higher than expectations, said co-founder Michael Steinhardt. But advertising is running "more than a little behind plan," he said. He reckoned the paper will need 100,000 readers and four times more ads than it has now in order to break even. To make up for the lack of ads, the conservative daily is trying to raise another $35 million, said Mr. Steinhardt. He and fellow co-founder Roger Hertog will provide some of the funding, along with new investors who Mr. Steinhardt declined to identify. He estimated that losses at the paper have hit about $25 million. Mr. Steinhardt noted that it typically takes newspapers many years to turn profitable.

FYI ...

PepsiCo and the National Football League extended their sponsorship agreement through 2011, the beverage company and the league announced. Executives close to the marketer and the NFL said the new deal, which begins with the 2004 season, is worth about $500 million, or roughly $62 million a year. ...The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, concerned about growing unregulated low carb claims for beers, wines and distilled spirits, is readying an industry guidance to define what will constitute "low carb" brands and low carb claims that can be made in the ads for spirits used in mixed drinks.

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