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WPP Group's direct marketing agency Wunderman, a division of Young & Rubicam, will merge its media buying and planning services with Mediaedge:cia. Sheri Rothblatt and Gary Kagawa, executive media directors at Wunderman, will lead the division as managing partners and will report to Charles Courtier, Mediaedge:cia executive chairman-CEO. "My media operations are strong," said Daniel Morel, chairman-CEO of Wunderman, "but I could never develop a strong relationship with large media operators on my own, so bringing these assets to Charles will give us access to them." Mr. Morel said the merger will also involve Wunderman and Mediaedge:cia offices in 12 of the largest markets around the world. AT&T, a client of both shops, played a significant role in arranging the marriage. "We're pleased to have been a catalyst behind the initiative," said Karen Milke, a media director at AT&T. QwikFIND aao75m

`The View' goes live, J&J sponsors

ABC goes live tonight with a one-hour interactive "The View: His & Her Body Test." The real time Johnson & Johnson-sponsored program encourages viewers to answer 30 health-related questions in one of three ways-via their Wink-enabled enhanced TV service, by wireless handset or on a PC. Special guests include comedian George Lopez, the newly engaged "Bachelor" Andrew Firestone and his fiancee Jennifer Shefft, as well as doctors and other health experts. Wink-enhanced TV service is in about 7 million homes, though not all ABC affiliate markets enable Wink. "If we end up getting 20,000 to 25,000 Wink users, the network would be thrilled," said Rick Mandler, VP-general manager of enhanced TV, Walt Disney Internet Group. Interpublic Group of Cos.' Universal McCann handled media buying, planning and strategy for the J&J tie-in.

ReplayTV drops ad-skip button

Digital Networks North America, marketer of ReplayTV, has dropped plans to offer two controversial features from its next digital video recorder model due in August. Bowing to the concerns of content copyright holders, it will eliminate the "Send Show" and "Automatic Commercial Advance" features from the ReplayTV 5500 DVR. "Send Show" enables consumers to share digitally recorded programming with friends; "Automatic Commercial Advance" allows viewers to skip ads at the touch of a button. However, the company said it will keep its "QuickSkip" function, which lets consumers choose to skip parts of a recorded program in 30-second increments, and its fast-forward buttons. "The new ReplayTV 5500 series will provide our customers with the best possible DVR experience, while being responsive to issues and concerns raised by the owners and distributors of copyrighted content," said Michael Seedman, chairman of DNNA. QwikFIND aao75u

After two years, Lowe CEO resigns

Paul Hammersley, CEO of Interpublic Group of Cos.' Lowe, New York, resigned from the agency June 9, after two years at the helm of the agency. Tom Bernardin, Lowe's president-chief operating officer, succeeds Mr. Hammersley. Mr. Bernardin came to Lowe in February from the top seat at sibling shop Bozell, when the two merged. Mr. Hammersley, a Brit who worked at Lowe for a total of 10 years-two spent in London running Lowe's office there-will leave the agency at the end of June. Asked about his plans, he said, "I have no impending announcement" but he intends to remain in the U.S. QwikFIND aao74w

FTC asks Congress for more authority

The Federal Trade Commission asked Congress to let it oversee phone ads, provide more authority to fight spam and boost its ability to join with foreign governments to fight fraud. The FTC told two congressional panels that it is difficult to regulate the marketing of one company that competes with a phone or cable company marketer that claims it is exempt from FTC regulation. A Senate panel took the request under advisement, but House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., said he opposed giving the FTC authority to regulate phone ads. QwikFIND aao75h Separately, the FTC reported that tobacco makers increased spending on advertising and promotion 17% in 2001, even as shipments slipped 3.8%, prompting tobacco critics to call for greater regulation. Tobacco makers said the increase was due to increased spending on promotional allowances and retail promotions. QwikFIND aao75o


General Motors Corp. created a new layer of advertising management at Chevrolet by moving Kim Kosak from director-advertising and sales promotion at GM's Cadillac brand to general director-advertising and sales promotion, Chevrolet. QwikFIND aao75f. ... Mazda North American Operations restructured its marketing and product development to more closely align the two disciplines. Robert T. Davis adds senior VP-marketing to his post of product development and strategy leader. He succeeds Kristen Simmons, VP-marketing, who is leaving the Ford Motor Co.-controlled unit after four years to join Gateway in the newly created job of senior VP-consumer marketing. Mazda plans to name a director of product strategy, a new post, later this month. The automaker is bringing back its marketing director title, which goes to Eric Johnston, director of model-line marketing. Ms. Simmons was Mazda's last marketing director, until April 2001, when she was named VP-marketing. QwikFIND aao75j

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