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[New York] Publicis Groupe is tipped to win Samsung's global review, executives within all three holding company contenders speculated on July 23. Publicis is battling WPP Group and Interpublic Group of Cos., whose Foote Cone & Belding and Initiative Media are the incumbents. Executives familiar with the review said that, among other things, Publicis presented an appealing range of agency offerings and fewer conflict issues. Samsung executives and Publicis' Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy, who is on vacation, could not be reached for comment at press time.

Subaru retracts list of finalists for account

[Cherry Hill, N.J.] Subaru of America last week retracted a short-list of agencies announced as finalists competing for its creative advertising responsibilities. The finalists will be announced July 28, according to Mike Whelan, national manager, corporate communications. See QwikFIND aap83n

RG/A does $1M overhaul on New York Olympic site

[New York] NYC2012, the committee leading New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics, has restructured its Web site to reach the International Olympic Committee that chooses the Olympics host city. No international marketing, except a Web site, is allowed until after Nov. 15. The bare bones of was revamped by interactive agency RG/A, and donated, minus basic expenses, to the effort. The result, said to be worth $1 million, features an "xmap" of sports venues with color photos and audio descriptions, translations in nine languages, and photos and content about New York.

Syndication up slightly; takes in $2.3B in upfront

[New York] Syndicators were estimated to have taken around $2.3 billion in sales this year, slightly up on last year's figure of $2.2 billion, which was a record year for programmers given that 2002 came in at $1.7 billion. According to executives on both the sales and buying side, there was less money in the market than expected before the upfront market began. Top rated shows saw CPM rises between 6%-10%, with mid-tier shows at 4%-6%. With 2004 wrapped, syndicators are already beginning pitches for next year's round of shows which include HBO's "Sex and the City."

McCann creative takes top post at Hill Holliday

[San Francisco] Kevin Moehlenkamp, 40, who headed creative at Interpublic's McCann Erickson, San Francisco, on the $460 million Microsoft account, is leaving for the top creative post at sibling Interpublic shop Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Moehlenkamp, who oversaw Microsoft's "reaching potential" campaign, will oversee creative for the Boston office, replacing Marty Donohue who stepped aside this spring. A number of McCann executives and Mr. Moehlenkamp did not return phone calls; Hill Holliday executives referred a call to Interpublic, which didn't immediately respond.

Omnicom revises debt terms, offers payments

[New York] Omnicom Group said it will offer a cash payment to holders of a zero-coupon convertible debt issue as enticement to not cash in the notes next month and to let Omnicom change repayment terms. At issue is $892 million in notes-about one-third of its overall long-term debt-issued in 2002 and due in 2032. Investors each August have the option to cash in the notes. Under revised terms, Omnicom down the road would repay principal on the notes with cash but have the option to pay back the rest of the conversion value with stock or cash.

Nielsen hits the road with DVR education effort

[New York] Nielsen Media Research is going on the road this week talking to broadcast networks, syndicators, marketers and agencies in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, in an attempt to explain its plans for incorporating DVR viewing into national ratings. Nielsen is to measure homes that watch programming via digital video recorders in local markets come April 2005 and nationally in September 2005. One controversial aspect of the decision to incorporate DVR viewing into ratings is Nielsen's plan to offer "live viewing" ratings alongside "live viewing plus seven days of playback." One agency research head said he was "dumbfounded" by the plan since agencies would end up paying for additional viewers even though they were fast-forwarding through commercials. Another senior agency buyer said anything that Nielsen was doing to measure what was happening in the digital universe was a good thing.

Coca-Cola puts extra $67M behind C2 brand

[Atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. is committing an additional $67 million to back its C2 mid-calorie brand, the marketer said in a conference call with analysts. Despite strong trials, weak early sales spurred the leading beverage marketer to also tweak pricing for the brand, which is priced roughly 15% above other carbonated soft drinks. Coke reported strong performance for the Japanese launch, which contributed to a 4% volume gain in Asia, but executives only provided trial and intent metrics for the brand in the U.S.

Picard in, Heiler out as `Bon Appetit' publisher

[New York] Conde Nast Publications named Leslie Picard VP-publisher of Bon Appetit magazine. She replaces Lynn Heiler, who is leaving the company after a 17-year stint. Through June, Bon Appetit's ad pages declined 5.9% to 502.7. The fate of Ms. Heiler had been the subject of considerable rumor and speculation in the gossipy hallways of Conde Nast in recent months, especially after Glamour Publisher Suzanne Grimes left the company in mid-April. Ms. Picard had been a VP in Conde Nast's corporate sales group. She'd previously been an advertising director at Vanity Fair and New York magazine. See QwikFIND aap83f

FYI ...

Sprite Group Brand Director John Carroll is leaving Coca-Cola Co. after 10 years to become chief marketing and sales officer for Loan to Learn, he said. The marketer has yet to name a successor, said a spokeswoman. ... A consortium of 48 car dealers filed suit against Newsday in a Federal Court July 23, alleging fraud in the wake of the daily's admission it inflated circulation figures. ... Delta Air Lines is putting its estimated $25 million account into review, a company spokesman said. The move comes 13 months after Delta pulled its creative account from Publicis' Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and gave the work to Atlanta boutique shop Brighthouse. See QwikFIND aap83h ... The Washington Post will publish a special 20-page edition for both conventions featuring stories from the paper's Washington edition along with special advertising aimed at convention goers. Other convention dailies are coming from The National Journal, Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly, The Hill and The Weekly Standard. ... Figure, the year-old niche magazine for plus-size women will switch from quarterly to bimonthly publication in August, according to Crain's New York Business. Previous stabs at the plus-size market have included Mode, which lasted five years before folding in 2001, and Grace, which ceased publication last fall after about 18 months on newsstands.

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