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JWT withdraws from

$60 mil Goodyear account

J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, on Jan. 25 withdrew from the $60 million North American review of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., ending a 15-year relationship with the WPP Group-owned agency. The move comes a month after JWT senior management stunned JWT's Goodyear team and Goodyear ad and marketing execs by shooting down a nearly approved campaign in JWT's first meeting with Goodyear's new president, an episode that some insiders say helped spark the review (AA, Jan. 22). There was no immediate word on the fate of the 25 JWT employees who work on the account. A spokesman for the agency declined to comment further.

WPP Group forms new international network

WPP Group is combining four agencies into a single new international network called Red Cell. The agencies are Conquest Europe, a European agency network based in London and Milan whose main client is Italian car company Alfa Romeo; Seattle-based U.S. agency Cole & Weber; London-based marketing communications group Perspectives; and Batey Ads, a Singapore-based Asian agency best known for its work on Singapore Airlines. The network claims combined 2000 billings of $1 billion. It will be run by CEO Luca Lindner, formerly Conquest's CEO.

Sneaker maker files for bankruptcy protection

Converse filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the process, the sneaker marketer will close plants in North America by March 31 and shift production to a supplier in Asia. The 97-year-old company, known for its Chuck Taylor line and five-point all-star logo, will shift focus from manufacturing to licensing its name. Converse's endorsers include NBA players Karl Malone, Kenny Thomas and Ron Artest.

Cuts continue, magazines close at AOL Time Warner

The ax continued to fall at AOL Time Warner, with the company announcing job cuts involving 2,000 positions on top of the 400 cuts at CNN last week. In addition, the company's Times Mirror magazine unit announced the shuttering of three magazines-Today's Homeowner, Outdoor Explorer and Senior Golfer-which, according to Times Mirror president-CEO Jason Klein, will affect about 40 additional staffers, though some may stay on at other company magazines. Before the job-cutting moves, AOL Time Warner employed about 85,000. The biggest chunk of job losses are at AOL, which is losing 725 people out of its pre-merger 15,000. Warner Music Group will lose 600 jobs out of 13,000. Time Inc. will lose 400 positions out of about 13,000. Warner Bros. Film division will eliminate around 100 jobs out of 11,000. An additional 100 jobs will be lost at AOL Time Warner corporate, and the biggest hit, based on percentage, was suffered by New Line Cinema, which will lose around 100 jobs out of 600.

P&G, Magnifi to launch unit to streamline operations

Procter & Gamble Co. last week launched plans to form a new unit that it hopes will help it streamline operations in such areas as marketing and product development. The company, which is being launched in partnership with marketing services firm Magnifi Inc., will install the platform on the desktop of P&G managers this year. The company is making it voluntary for advertising agencies and other vendors to participate and will pay the costs for those companies to run the system.

FTC ends DoubleClick privacy investigation

The Federal Trade Commission said it concluded its investigation into Doubleclick because it saw no proof that DoubleClick used or disclosed personally identifiable information in violation of its privacy policy. The FTC investigation began after privacy groups complained that DoubleClick's 1999 purchase of Abacus Direct, in a stock deal that was valued at the time at $1 billion, would violate privacy rules. The complaint charged that DoubleClick's plan to combine its online profiling information with offline information gathered by Abacus Direct violated consumers' privacy rights and DoubleClick's own privacy policy. In the face of a firestorm of opposition to its combining information, DoubleClick backed off a plan to possibly combine online and offline data. Combining online and offline data was one reason why DoubleClick had originally been interested in buying Abacus.

CNET, Ziff Davis, reach new media, content agreement

Technology magazine publisher Ziff Davis Media has renegotiated its content licensing and print publishing contracts with CNET and ZDNet, scaling back its content-services agreement to two years from five. The push to scale back the agreement was sparked by the merger last year between ZDNet and CNET Networks, the companies said. Under the revised contracts, which take effect March 1, 2001, CNET Networks and Ziff Davis Media will share online rights to content from 11 Ziff Davis Media print magazines for one year before returning them exclusively to Ziff Davis Media. Ziff Davis Media also will continue to provide production and circulation services for CNET Networks' Computer Shopper magazine for up to two years.

Communication group announces Matrix winners

New York Women in Communications announced the winners of its 30th annual Matrix Awards, which honor notable women in communications. 2001 recipients include: J. Andrea Alstrup, corporate VP-advertising, Johnson & Johnson (Advertising); Valerie Salembier, VP-president and publisher of Hearst Magazines' Esquire (Magazines); Judy McGrath, president of Viacom's MTV Group and chairman of interactive music, MTV Networks (Broadcasting); and Pamela Thomas-Graham, president-CEO, General Electric's (New Media). The awards ceremony will take place April 23 at the Waldorf Astoria.

New Sears exec

to emphasize brand

Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s new senior VP-marketing, David W. Selby, 44, said the giant retailer will be putting more of its marketing emphasis on "brand Sears" but will continue with the stream of promotions the retailer has used to improve sales in recent months. Sears will be "taking a new look at everything," he said, adding, however, that no agency review is planned at this time. Mr. Selby last week was promoted to succeed Mark A. Cohen, who became chairman- CEO, Sears Canada.

Power worries force Miller to ship beer to California

Because of power outages and the rising cost of electricity, Philip Morris Cos.' Miller Brewing Co. has begun shipping beer to California from breweries in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. Cliff Amos, community affairs manager for Miller in Fort Worth, said the three breweries are expected to have shipped about 450,000 cases of beer to California by the end of January. "We can produce and ship beer from Texas and points east cheaper than they can actually make it in Irwindale [a surburb of Los Angeles]," he said.


Siemens awarded an estimated $25 million global corporate campaign to Publicis, New York, after a pitch against Lord Group (owned by Dentsu and WPP Group), New York, and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Amsterdam. ... Jelly Belly jelly beans, owned by the Herman Goelitz Candy Co., has named Clear Ink, Walnut Creek, Calif., agency of record for its $5 million account. ... Dr Pepper/Seven Up on Jan. 25 completed its $16.6 million acquisition of Slush Puppie Co., the 31-year-old company that specializes in frozen, non-carbonated beverages.

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