The Week

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A vote on a Texas school-financing plan that relied on an ad tax of up to 10% as one means of raising revenue last week was rejected by the state House, but media groups remain wary that the tax could resurface as legislators debate the school issue. "It would be a mistake not to keep the pressure up," said Dan Jaffe, exec VP of the Association of National Advertisers. "This has only delayed the decision." The Texas Senate earlier approved the plan, which called for cutting property taxes and then financing schools through a higher state sales tax and elimination of exemptions from the sales tax, including the exemption for ads. The issue is now likely to be decided in a special session of the legislature. QwikFIND aao67m

Toyota dealer radio spot pulled

Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, Torrance, Calif., didn't mean to offend anyone with a Toyota regional-dealer radio spot that compared buying an uncertified vehicle to adopting a problem child, a spokeswoman said, after the spot was pulled May 8 following complaints to Toyota Motor Sales USA and the Publicis Groupe agency from listeners in Salt Lake City and Albuquerque, the only markets where it ran. Ernie Riach, general sales manager of one of only two Toyota dealerships in Albuquerque, called the ad "insensitive." Neither dealership approved the spot, said Mr. Riach, who is adopted. "We're trying to figure out what happened," said the Saatchi spokeswoman. "Obviously we're not going to point fingers at anyone." QwikFIND aao67k

Adobe pushes PDF in campaign

Adobe systems breaks its first TV campaign this week for its PDF file format. The voice-over in the ad from Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco says: "Everyday all over the world, millions of people receive Adobe PDFs, but few realize how simple they are to create. Which begs the question: Is it better to give a PDF or receive one?"

Taylor Nelson Sofres to buy IPG's NFO

Interpublic bought NFO WorldGroup in April 2000 for $673 million ($493 million in stock and $180 million in assumed debt), far above the $425 million sale price. But it will take an after-tax gain of about $100 million on the sale of the market researcher to Taylor Nelson Sofres. That's the sale price minus Goldman Sachs' estimated $15 million fee minus NFO's value on Interpublic books; Interpublic at March 31 valued NFO at $293.5 million, which will increase slightly after tax adjustments. The gain will largely offset up to $200 million in pretax charges allowed under lending agreements for a pending Interpublic restructuring. But because restructuring charges are expected this quarter while NFO's sale and gain likely won't occur until next quarter, Interpublic is expected to report a second-quarter net loss, the third loss in four quarters. Chairman-CEO David Bell has stressed Interpublic's turnaround will start to take shape in the third quarter. QwikFIND aao67n

Western Union picks Hispanic shop

Western Union is in final negotiations to hand its more than $10 million account to Dieste Harmel & Partners, Dallas, after a final pitch involving two Texas-based independents, Cartel Creativo, San Antonio, and LatinWorks, Austin, according to agency executives. Dieste, backed by Omnicom, last year pitched jointly for the general market and Hispanic accounts with Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, but the business was awarded in April 2002 to WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson and Zubi Advertising, an independent in Coral Gables, Fla. JWT still has the general-market account. QwikFIND aao68e

Study on alcohol ads, teens disputed

Beer and liquor groups disputed a study released last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association contending alcohol ads appear more frequently in magazines with more teen readers. The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. said the study had "flagrant technical errors bordering on junk science" while the Beer Institute said the study itself noted that there was no cause-and-effect relationship between advertising and teen drinking. The Magazine Publishers of America found the study biased because it did not include an adequate range of titles, and also noted teen magazines voluntarily refuse alcohol ads. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, analyzed alcohol ads from 1997 to 2001 in 35 magazines. It concluded "self-regulation is not adequately preventing indirect targeting of adolescents through magazines."


Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos named its president, Mike Sheehan, CEO of the Interpublic agency. Mr. Sheehan, 42, replaced Jack Connors, 60, a founding partner and chairman. Mr. Connors, who remains chairman of the shop, plans to be more involved with Interpublic, where he is chairman of its operating committee. Earlier this year, Mr. Connors agreed to remain at the helm until at least 2008. QwikFIND aao67y. ... Omnicom's TBWA Worldwide is parting ways with its chief operating officer, Carl Johnson, who has been on a year's sabbatical in Sydney, Australia. QwikFIND aao67x. ... Subway Restaurants put its $200 million-plus account into review last week. Despite a 37% increase in sales since 2000, Subway's Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust wanted advertising that better matched its category leadership and retained Joanne Davis Consulting, New York, to handle the closed review. At least a dozen shops were asked to pitch. In June, the chain will name four to five finalists for a mid-July decision. Subway's incumbent of three years, Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, will defend. QwikFIND aa067v...The Postal Rate Commission has endorsed the Postal Service's use of negotiated agreements with large-volume mailers. An experimental price-break for Capital One, the largest producer of first-class mail, is the first such agreement to be approved.

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