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[Miami] Burger King Corp. said CEO Bradley D. Blum has left the marketer following strategic differences with the board and that it is conducting a search for a successor. (Advertising Age first reported Burger King's private equity owners, led by Texas Pacific Group, were on the hunt for a new chief executive June 21.) Senior management will continue to oversee the business until a new CEO is named, which the company expects to do by Aug. 1. One executive has emerged as a lead candidate for the job. Greg Brenneman, former president-chief operating officer credited with turning around Continental Airlines, is said to be the shareowners' pick for the job, according to an executive close to the situation. Executives from Burger King's shareholder groups declined to comment. Board members did not return calls. See QwikFIND aap78u

Toyota breaks blitz on ESPN properties

[Torrance, Calif.] Toyota Motor Sales USA, in an effort to pump up its truck line, breaks an integrated blitz July 6 tied to its sponsorship of ESPN's 25th Anniversary. Announcers from the Walt Disney Co. network narrate TV and radio spots themed "Maybe we should stick to being fans." The TV commercials from Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, show flubs of the Tundra pickup and 4Runner SUV as participants in sports events. The summer push includes online promotion and a sweepstakes to win one of five 2005 Tacoma pickups.

Miller developing low-carb offering

[Milwaukee] Miller Brewing Co. is developing a low-carb beer to compete with Anheuser-Busch's Michelob Ultra, according to people familiar with the situation. The name could not be determined and it's unclear whether the brewer has made a final decision on introducing it. If launched, it could roll out next year. Miller ads that tout Lite's lower carb count vs. Bud Light have helped turn around the brand; Michelob Ultra, which sells at a premium to beers like Lite, ratcheted up shipments of 3.1 million barrels in 2003 from 400,000 in 2002, according to industry newsletter Beer Marketer's Insights.

Fallon drops out of Staples review

[Framingham, Mass.] Publicis' Fallon, New York, has dropped out of the review for the Staples creative account, according to executives close to the agency. The withdrawal leaves Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and the New York offices of WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson Worldwide in the running for the account. Staples split in April with Omnicom Group's Martin/Williams, Minneapolis. Staples spent $56.6 million on TV advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. "Staples and Fallon have agreed that they are not the perfect fit," a Staples spokesman said. See QwikFIND aap780

Leo Burnett to announce creative reorganization

[Chicago] Publicis' Leo Burnett USA this week will announce a reorganization of its creative department intended to improve the agency's creative product, improve service to clients and clarify roles, a Burnett spokeswoman said. The creative department has been wracked by factionalism between chief creative officer Cheryl Berman and deputy creative officer Mark Tutssel, who joined the agency in 2002, industry executives said. In a recent interview with Advertising Age, Leo Burnett CEO Tom Bernardin said there was a divide within the creative department. Ms. Berman will remain chairman and chief creative officer of the agency, the agency spokeswoman said. A person familiar with the situation said Mr. Tutssel's title would remain the same.

JP Morgan Chase seeks shop for retail positioning

[New York] JP Morgan Chase is meeting with agencies to establish a brand positioning for its retail products following its merger with Bank One Corp., according to executives close to the company. Chase executives are meeting with design and brand consultancy Lippincott Mercer and agencies representing both Interpublic Group of Cos. and Omnicom Group. Bank One's agency, independent Gardner Nelson Project is also participating, but not Interpublic's The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., which was selected last year to handle creative and media for Chase Consumer Financial Services, the unit covering the retail businesses. The process, including developing advertising to introduce the brand positioning, is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Delta Faucet narrows review to three shops

[Indianapolis] Masco Corp.'s Delta Faucet Company has selected three agencies to make final presentations in its search for shop to handle its advertising account. The company parted with its agency of 14 years, Interpublic's Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., in May. Advancing shops are: Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston; Omnicom's BBDO, New York; and Interpublic's Martin. In 2003, Delta spent $11.5 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Ray Kennedy, senior VP-sales and marketing, said Delta is seeking "a fresh perspective on our business." The review is expected to end by early August. See QwikFIND aap78t


Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Japan moved its estimated $20 million account to WPP's J. Walter Thompson, Tokyo, from Japanese agency Hakuhodo. The account shift marks the last Ford market in Asia to align with J. Walter Thompson. See QwikFIND aap78s ... AOL for Broadband will be the title sponsor of Outdoor Life Network's daily morning show, "Tour de France Pre-Race Show," and a daily question from a broadband member for OLN commentator Bob Roll. AOL Broadband members get exclusive online access to race video segments. ... BrownCo, JPMorgan Chase's online brokerage, has hired Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann-Erickson, New York, as its new ad agency. McCann replaces independent Via Group, Portland, Maine, which did not participate in the review. ... Ace Limited tapped Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in New York to handle creative and media for Ace Group after a review. The insurance and reinsurance group received $7 million in measured media last year. ... The American Red Cross has selected Hill Holliday, New York, to handle advertising after a review, the agency said. Hill Holliday had handled project work for the group. Nerve, an independent agency in Portland, Ore., most recently worked on the account. ... The Vitamin Shoppe Industries hired Omnicom's Zimmerman Partners, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to handle its advertising. The retailer had previously worked with various shops on a project basis. The account is estimated at about $20 million.

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