Omnicom shops expected to win $40 mil Fila acc't

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Fila Holding is expected to tap Omnicom Group siblings TBWA Worldwide and Merkley Newman Harty, New York, for its estimated $40 million global account, said executives close to the marketer. Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide was the other review contender. Merkley pitched the U.S. portion of the account, while TBWA's European offices, led by Paris, are said to have pitched the international account. Merkley executives weren't available for comment, and TBWA referred calls to Fila, which couldn't be reached for comment. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and sibling Starcom Worldwide had handled all of Fila USA's creative and media until they parted ways this summer.

Cindy Crawford, NAD on Kellogg's plate

Kellogg Co. last week looked ahead to new ad efforts and pledged to revise some 1999 tactics. As part of a new single brand focus for advertising in 2000 (AA, Nov. 29), Kellogg said it will feature model Cindy Crawford as spokeswoman for Special K. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles the campaign, which will break in the first half. Separately, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus said Kellogg agreed to modify some K-sentials ad claims that NAD found to be misleading. General Mills challenged the nutritional claims. NAD concluded Kellogg's evidence was insufficient to support implied claims that K-sentials provides a unique blend of vitamins and minerals or that all K-sentials cereals contain additional calcium. It also said Kellogg couldn't substantiate its implied claim that only Rice Krispies with K-sentials provides toddlers with the vitamins and minerals they need. Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., handles K-sentials.

McDonald's plucks Boston Market chain

McDonald's Corp. said it plans to acquire most of the assets of the 751-unit Boston Market chain from owner Boston Chicken for $173.5 million in cash and debt, along with development rights for 108 more units. The once high-flying chain has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since last year. McDonald's said it will use some of the sites to grow its own brand plus two other chains it recently acquired: Donatos Pizza and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Some of the acquired restaurants will continue as Boston Markets. Suissa Miller, Los Angeles, handles creative for Boston Market's estimated $50 million account. It's unclear whether Larry Zwain, McDonald's senior VP-marketing, was involved in the deal. Mr. Zwain is a former president of Boston Market.

Judge to decide damages in case of pizza foes

Monetary damages in the courtroom pizza battle between Papa John's International and Tricon Global Restaurants' Pizza Hut will be determined by a federal judge rather than a jury. A jury was to deliberate on damages starting last week, but U.S. District Judge William Sanderson in Dallas dismissed the jury and is expected to issue a ruling by Christmas on damages and on whether Papa John's can continue its campaign via Fricks/Firestone, Atlanta, touting, "Better ingredients. Better pizza." Pizza Hut seeks $12.5 million in damages. The jury last month found the slogan misled consumers (AA, Nov. 22). It also found Pizza Hut misled viewers with two spots from Shrum Devine Donilon, Washington, singling out Papa John's.

Justices challenge FDA on its power over tobacco

Several Supreme Court justices expressed strong skepticism about the Food & Drug Administration's attempt to regulate tobacco, as the court last week heard oral arguments in a case that could have a major impact on advertising. Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Scalia and David Souter sharply questioned Solicitor General Seth Waxman on his claim that the FDA could now regulate tobacco because of new evidence that tobacco companies were manipulating nicotine levels to achieve a physical effect. The FDA has said in the past it couldn't regulate tobacco. Justice O'Connor suggested the FDA's authority is to regulate drugs to assure they are safe and effective, and tobacco "doesn't fit" in that definition. Justice Scalia questioned whether there was really any new evidence. The FDA wants to impose major restrictions on tobacco marketing and packaging, but an appellate court earlier ruled the agency has no authority to regulate tobacco.

Former FTC official Elman dies; critic of tobacco ads

Former Federal Trade Commissioner Philip Elman, 81, died Nov. 30 in Bethesda, Md., of respiratory and renal failure. While at the Federal Trade Commission in 1961-70, Mr. Elman was a tough critic of tobacco marketing and helped engineer a dramatic 1964 FTC order banning tobacco advertising -- a ban quickly killed by Congress. Mr. Elman also pushed the FTC to look into corrective advertising as a remedy for deceptive ads and prodded the commission to open more of its decisionmaking to outside comment by the public.

Also . . .

General Magic to Y&R Advertising from Saatchi & Saatchi, both San Francisco, for its $10 million to $15 million account. Y&R's first effort will center on myTalk, a free service providing e-mail and voice-mail. In the past six months, the Y&R office has picked up an estimated $80 million to $100 million with six dot-com clients. . . . United Nations Children's Fund is searching for an ad agency to provide brand consulting. Corinne Woods, head of communications at Unicef, stressed the agency won't initially handle traditional creative work but will act as a consultant working on a broad range of issues including advertising. An initial short-list of agencies in London includes BMP DDB, Leo Burnett Co., D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, M&C Saatchi, Saatchi & Saatchi and TBWA GGT Simons Palmer. Unicef has previously worked with Bates Worldwide in the U.K. . . . Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, said it's purchasing a minority interest in Moroch & Associates, a Dallas-based retail market planning company. Moroch, with a projected $80 million-plus in billings, will continue to operate under its existing name.

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