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Motorola kicks off review of $150 mil global acc't

Motorola is reviewing its estimated $150 million global account, in what most likely will lead to an agency consolidation. Motorola roster shops McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, both New York, and Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, will all compete in the review. A Motorola spokeswoman said of the review: "We're working to determine the best way to leverage the overall Motorola brand." McCann, which handles Motorola's estimated $100 million consumer account, has the most to lose, and pulled out all the stops last week to defend its turf, sending 20 staffers to Chicago to meet with Motorola executives. Burnett handles Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector, while Ogilvy works on the company's interactive efforts through its OgilvyOne division. Ogilvy parent WPP Group, along with Ogilvy CEO Shelly Lazarus and President-Chief Creative Officer Rick Boyko, met with Motorola Marketing Director Geoffrey Frost in March about the possible account consolidation, said an executive close to the agency. Ogilvy may have a Motorola friend in Janet Fitzpatrick, who last May joined the company as global media director for PCS, Motorola's personal communications group that handles products such as cell phones and pagers. Ms. Fitzpatrick was previously CEO of WPP's MindShare Japan, Tokyo, which she helped launch in May 1999. Before that, she held the dual role of executive media director for Ogilvy & Mather Japan and regional media director overseeing IBM Corp. in the Asia-Pacific. At Motorola, Ms. Fitzpatrick reports to Mr. Frost.

Messner wins $50 mil in Volvo European ads

Volvo Car Corp. hired Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, to handle its European advertising, as expected. Messner Vetere already handled Volvo in North America; its MVBMS/Fuel Europe will be based in Brussels to handle the estimated $50 million in European work. Volvo said it will continue to work with Sweden's Forsman & Bodenfors on the Nordic markets. MVBMS/Fuel Europe encompasses traditional advertising as well as relationship marketing and new media. The European business brings Messner's billings to more than $150 million.

ConAgra gobbles up soy marketer Lightlife

ConAgra acquired vegetarian and soy products marketer Lightlife Foods, Turners Falls, Mass. The move is the latest in a rash of acquisitions of natural foods marketers by mainstream manufacturers hoping to capitalize on the consumer trend toward healthful eating. Soy in particular has been in the limelight due to the Food & Drug Administration's authorization of a health claim regarding soy's part in reducing the risk of heart disease. ConAgra currently markets healthful products under the brands Healthy Choice and Advantage/10, a line endorsed by Dr. Dean Ornish.

CNET Networks to buy Ziff-Davis for $1.6 bil

Technology dot-com CNET Networks reached an agreement July 19 to buy Ziff-Davis for $1.6 billion. The deal includes Ziff-Davis' technology Web site ZDNet and the publication Computer Shopper. The combined company is expected to take in more than $500 million in revenue next year.

Diageo rejiggering may affect agencies

Activity last week involving Diageo created uncertainly among some of its roster agencies:

* General Mills' plan to acquire Diageo's Pillsbury Co. unit for $10.5 billion could present a conflict of interest for Pillsbury shop Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. The agency, part of Bcom3 Group, has been quietly shifting Pillsbury's dough business to sister agency D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, to minimize conflicts with longtime Burnett client Kellogg Co. But with the merger of Pillsbury with Kellogg's direct rival in the cereal business, Burnett will "consider and pursue if there's a need to shift more business to minimize any other potential conflicts," an agency spokeswoman said. "The beautiful thing about being part of a holding company is that there are a lot of agency brands, and it allows you to strategically move things around to avoid these conflicts," she explained. Pillsbury spent $132 million in media in 1999, split between main agencies D'Arcy and Burnett, while Kellogg spent $314 million, split between leading agencies Burnett; J. Walter Thompson USA, New York; Y&R Advertising, New York; and the Martin Agency, Richmond.

* The marketing departments of Diageo's United Distillers & Vintners and Guinness are expected to be combined following last week's announcement that the company will merge its spirits and beer divisions. The cost-saving move is likely to lead to reshuffling of several senior marketing positions. The merger will bring together a dozen of the world's leading alcoholic beverage brands including Baileys, Jose Cuervo, Guinness, J&B, Malibu, Smirnoff, Tanqueray and Johnnie Walker. The combined operations reported operating profits of $1.8 billion last year; Diageo estimates the merger could lead to initial annual cost savings of $195 million. UDV agencies include Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Leo Burnett Co. and J. Walter Thompson Co.; Guinness agencies include Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO. Diageo's added focus on the spirits and beer business is also behind the sale of Pillsbury.

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