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[las vegas] In the midst of the $200 million global introduction of its Advantix brand-hitting U.S. and overseas stores by April-Eastman Kodak Co. is exploring a realignment of its agencies' duties to eliminate geographic assignments.

"We've been moving toward global business units and the realignment has led to a corollary with the ad agency relationships," Andrew Salzman, Kodak director of worldwide marketing, told Advertising Age at the Photography Marketing Association convention.


It is suspected Kodak and WPP Group are talking about WPP setting up a consolidated media operation for Kodak. However, Mr. Salzman said, "we're talking to two WPP agencies. If they are collaborating, they are doing it on their own. This is not something Koda....asked for."

WPP's J. Walter Thompson USA and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide are both Kodak shops.

"A number of different models" are being looked at, he said, as Kodak seeks media efficiencies, strong creative resources and robust global networks, while aligning agencies by Kodak businesses such as film, digital imaging and photo finishing.

"We'll be focusing on fewer key decisionmakers," he said, adding that it "does not imply there will be an increase, decrease or same number of agencies."

He discounted the possibility of a single agency winning all Kodak business, and denied reports Young & Rubicam, New York, has been dismissed. Y&R declined comment. However, morale at the agency over its relationship with Kodak is not good.

Lead agency JWT is handling the U.S. introduction of Kodak's Advanced Photo System brand Advantix, and also created executions for other countries. While Y&R handles much of Kodak's overseas business, no international advertising has broken yet and Kodak has delayed placement of the estimated $120 million in media with the realignment.

Y&R, with business defined exclusively by geography, will be affected most by the planned changes.

O&M handles the $15 million account for Digital Science, a brand used for high-tech products, and the $50 million global branding business.

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