The Week

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Burger King crowns WPP

WPP Group agencies won most of Burger King Corp.'s $340 million advertising, media buying and planning, field marketing, interactive and promotional business. Y&R Advertising, New York, replaces independent Amoeba on general-market advertising and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, on field marketing; Wunderman takes over promotional work from Interpublic's DraftWorldwide; and MindShare assumes media planning and buying from Interpublic's Media First. DraftWorldwide retains some point-of-purchase business outside of the U.S., and the company's PremiumSurge division handles kids' premiums in the U.S. Other shops that retain their assignments: Interpublic's Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis, for kids' marketing; UniWorld, part-owned by WPP, for African-American advertising; and Publicis Groupe's Bromley Communications for Hispanic marketing. QwikFIND aao59t

Hughes Bros. direct Skyy Blue campaign

Skyy Blue's latest campaign features three new TV spots directed by the Hughes Brothers, the duo behind movies "From Hell" and "Dead Presidents." "The new ads combine the Hughes Brothers' cinematography skills with innovative music selections to reinforce [a] contemporary, upscale image," said Ann Stickler, director-strategy and new-business development, Miller Brewing Company, which produces and markets SKYY Blue under a license agreement with SKYY Spirits. Created by Lambesis, Carlsbad, Calif., the TV spots, which ran in pre-feature cinema rotations in a limited number of movie theaters during R-rated films in March, will appear on network TV shows like "Will and Grace" and "Friends." The campaign also includes print and out-of-home.

AOL TW sued for securities fraud

Two institutional shareholders have sued AOL Time Warner, charging securities fraud. The University of California and Amalgamated Bank's LongView Collective Investment Fund allege that AOL Time Warner management and its advisers misrepresented revenues leading to the January 2001 merger of America Online and Time Warner to inflate its share price. The suit, filed in superior court in Los Angeles, claims the executives took advantage of a clause allowing for early vesting of stock options to cash in millions of shares at inflated prices while propping up the stock price with share repurchases. The university claims its investment in Time Warner, worth $800 million at the time of the merger, has lost more than $450 million as a result. An AOL Time Warner spokeswoman would not comment on the suit.

Pfizer merger with Pharmacia cleared

The Federal Trade Commission approved Pfizer's merger with Pharmacia Corp. Pfizer VP-Consumer Health Care Dorothy Wetzel said it was premature to speculate on any agency changes for its accounts, including the lucrative direct-to-consumer business. Pfizer has 10 drugs with individual sales of over $1 billion each in 2002. Three of them-antidepressant Zoloft, allergy drug Zyrtec and anti-arthritis Bextra-are in review. Ms. Wetzel said that Pfizer narrowed its search to five non-roster agencies and several roster shops. QwikFIND aao60b

Euro RSCG gets MCI corporate biz

In an attempt to distance itself from what is believed to be the largest corporate-accounting fraud in U.S. history, WorldCom is changing its name to MCI, the name of the telecom unit it acquired in 1998. The company has handed its longtime agency, Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, the global branding assignment following a pitch that included two other roster shops, Interpublic's Deutsch, New York, and Cordiant Communications Group's DWP/Bates Technology. Deutsch has handled MCI's consumer calling plan since February 2002. Mr. Berger declined to discuss the billing figures attached to the global assignment, citing Chapter 11 issues. MCI did not return calls for comment. QwikFIND aao60a


British American Tobacco "has rebalanced its agency portfolio, as it does from time to time," a company representative said. Executives close to the situation report that Grey Global Group's integrated communications unit, G2, will head up Lucky Strike, taking over for Cordiant's 141 Worldwide. WPP's OgilvyOne will take on Pall Mall, replacing G2. BAT's travel and retail business, which involves duty-free shop promotions, has been handed exclusively to 141. ... John Ghianni, a former independent salesman representing graphics supplier Quality House of Graphics, pleaded guilty last week to antitrust and tax charges in U.S. District Court in New York. A federal grand jury indicted Mr. Ghianni in May 2002 for conspiring to rig bids and allocate contracts for graphics services purchased by Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide on behalf of a client. QwikFIND aao60p ... Longtime executive of the American Advertising Federation Janet Kennedy died after an extended illness. She was most recently senior VP-western region services, and had been at the AAF for 22 years. ... Lillian Vernon Corp., Rye, N.Y., announced a $60.5 million merger agreement with Ripplewood Holdings LLC. Ripplewood's industrial partner, ZelnickMedia, New York, will have minority interest in the company and be responsible for its day-to-day management. ... Patrick Godfrey, 34, and Brian Quennell, 45, have started a tech-focused shop in San Francisco called Godfrey Q & Partners. Fred Goldberg, formerly chairman of Goldberg Moser O'Neill, now Interpublic's Hill Holliday, San Francisco, is a consultant to the startup.

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