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[New York] NBC Universal is having conversations that could lead to the sale of pop-culture themed digital service Trio. According to a senior industry executive, NBC Universal is discussing the future of Trio with Barry Diller's Interactive Corp. NBC Universal executives have also met with other potential bidders, according to a separate executive involved in the talks. Trio is estimated to be worth between $200 million to $300 million. Interactive Corp. said it doesn't comment on rumor. According to an NBC spokeswoman, the company is "weighing all options" and a decision will be made by the end of the third quarter.

GM taps Starcom for $30M out-of-home biz

[Detroit] General Motors last week tapped Starcom, Chicago, to handle its roughly $30 million out of home media buying account, the automaker said. Starcom, part of Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group, beat the incumbent, Interpublic Group of Cos.' GM MediaWorks, Detroit, in a review. A GM spokesman wouldn't disclose whether other agencies participated. See QwikFIND aap85e

Dentsu merges NYC shops to handle Canon, Toyota

[New York] Dentsu Holdings USA is merging two small New York shops, DCA Advertising and Oasis Advertising, to form a $150 million DCA agency handling Canon U.S.A. and Toyota Motor North America. To avoid conflict with the $100 million Canon account at DCA, Dentsu's Santa Monica, Calif.-based Colby & Partners recently opened a New York office to take over Oasis' $40 million Sharp business (AA, April 26). Dentsu is looking at agency acquisitions to grow in the U.S. market and is likely to buy Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif. in 2005, after helping the independent agency win Toyota business earlier this year.

Ford breaks annual cancer campaign in mags

[Dearborn, Mich.] Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Division launches its annual, multi-million-dollar breast cancer awareness ad campaign in an all-print blitz breaking Aug. 6 in Fairchild Publications' W. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, created four ads, each with a celebrity wearing a Lilly Pulitzer-designed scarf on sale this fall at Bloomingdale's. The bulk of the buy is in Conde Nast titles from September through November and Hearst titles in October and November. Zubi Advertising, Coral Gables, handled the Hispanic portion, which includes PSAs for TV with author Mayte Prida. The automaker, its staff and dealers have contributed more than $80 million to the breast cancer cause since 1995.

Hyundai to introduce Tucson, new small SUV

[Fountain Valley, Calif.] Hyundai Motor America said it will launch its first all-new nameplate in four years in September via a 60-second in-theater spot to reach its young male target. The 2005 Tucson is Hyundai's first small SUV. Richards Group, Dallas, also created a trio of :30 national TV spots breaking in October for the launch, plus print ads, said Paul Sellers, executive marketing director at the automaker.

Viacom pushes ahead with MTV restructuring

[New York] Viacom is continuing its reorganization under co-President-Chief Operating Officer Tom Freston, who last week named Bob Bakish as exec VP-operations, a new position. Mr. Bakish was previously exec VP-chief operating officer of MTV Networks. The new position is aimed at pulling together oversight of strategy and development at the cable networks, studio, theme parks and licensing operations. Two other senior executives gain additional roles: Herb Scannell, who oversees Nickelodeon and other channels, adds Paramount Parks and Viacom Consumer Products operations to his mandate; Bill Roedy, president of MTV Networks International, adds Paramount's comedy channel assets in the U.K. and Spain.

Subway responds to German promo scandal

[Milford, Conn.] Facing criticism by politicians and advocacy groups over a German tie-in to the Morgan Spurlock film, "Super Size Me" that asks why Americans are fat, U.S. management of the No. 4 fast-feeder sent a memo to domestic franchisees defending itself in the flap. (See World, P. 10). "The film is a documentary that takes a direct shot at McDonald's, discusses the dangers of obesity [and] its related health risks, and as a result, makes a very good case for eating at Subway," said the memo, sent July 30 by Chris Carroll, marketing director for the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust.

Tyson repositions with beef, pork, ready-to-eat

[Springdale, Ark.] A new onslaught of media and promotions bowing later this month from Havas' Arnold Worldwide Partners, Boston, is intended to reposition Tyson Foods as a multi-meat marketer and zero in on specific products. The large-scale TV and print effort will be Tyson's first campaign of the year and its first from Arnold, which Tyson tapped in March to better showcase the brand's growing portfolio of beef, pork and chicken products.

FYI ...

The American Association of Advertising Agencies has hired Tom Finneran as exec-VP-management services division. Mr. Finneran was most recently exec VP-chief operating officer at Grey Global Group's J. Brown Agency. ... The Democratic National Committee launched its own ad effort on July 31 on behalf of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry with an ad called "Strength" featuring footage from Mr. Kerry's convention acceptance speech. The ad is from ARP Media & Messaging, Chicago, and Murphy Putnam Shorr & Partners, Alexandria, Va. ... ConAgra Foods is in the midst of a review of promotional agencies to handle a wide range of its brands in categories including meats, pizza, popcorn, bacon, jam and others, according to executives familiar with the situation. ... Procter & Gamble Co.'s ads for Crest Whitestrips and Night Effects last year weren't misleading, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled late July 29, rejecting a suit brought by rival Colgate-Palmolive Co.

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