The Week

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If DDB had $100 million ...

The wrangling may not be over even though California State Lottery called for a new review of its $100 million creative and media account. In January, Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, Los Angeles was named winner, ousting incumbent Grey Global Group's Grey Worldwide. Grey protested, charging DDB did not disclose OMD as its media buying agency. Lottery Director Joan Wilson found DDB and Grey both failed to disclose the names of its media buying management. Grey contends it provided appropriate information. Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif., with media partner Aegis' Carat, is likely to repitch the account, along with DDB and Grey. Requests for proposals will be available in a month. QwikFIND aan26f

Wonder Bread not such a wonder

The federal trade Commission, which under Chairman Tim Muris has put more pressure on vitamin-supplement health claims, turned to food makers for the first time, challenging claims in an ad for Wonder Bread. The FTC challenged a TV spot and Internet page featuring a character named Professor Wonder who claimed Wonder Bread not only builds healthy bones but helps children's minds and memories work better because it contains extra calcium. Interstate Bakeries Corp and Interpublic's Campbell Mithun agreed to settle the charges in part because the ad, run in 2000, had been pulled for unrelated reasons. QwikFIND aan26q

Why movies cost so much

In spite of this year's declining advertising rates, the average cost to market a U.S. movie grew 14% to $31 million in 2001, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The good news for moviemakers is that average production costs declined 13% to $47.7 million. Overall U.S. box-office receipts grew 9.8% to $8.41 billion, a record, thanks to a 4.9% rise in average ticket prices to $5.66.

`New Choices' runs out of them

Reader's digest Association's New Choices, the lifestyle title aimed at the 50-plus market, became the latest victim of this recession's shakeout March 6. Its last issue will be May-June. New Choices had undergone many title and target tweaks after RDA purchased it from Whitney Communications in 1988-so much so that the company's press release on the matter read "it was positioned under various titles and positioning over the years." Last year RDA cut its frequency to six times per year from 10.

For the last half of 2001, New Choices' circulation was 606,496, up 0.7%. For all of 2001, its ad pages declined 24.9% to 354.4. Its position in the marketplace was further challenged early last year, when Modern Maturity spun off My Generation, a title aimed at baby boomers in their 50s, with 3.1 million of the AARP organ's circulation. Last July RDA shuttered Walking after failing to find a buyer. QwikFIND aan26mEicoff, commercial pioneer, dies

Direct-response pioneer Alvin Eicoff, 80, died last week from congestive heart failure in Highland Beach, Fla. Mr. Eicoff, named one of the 50 most pioneering people in the TV industry by Advertising Age in 1995, harnessed the power of TV as a sales tool by creating the first long-form TV commercial in 1949. He founded direct-response specialist A. Eicoff & Co., Chicago, in 1965, which Ogvily & Mather, Chicago, bought in 1981. A. Eicoff & Co. remains a division of the WPP Group agency, with clients including Allstate and Sears, Roebuck & Co. QwikFIND aan25z

`AutoWeek' publisher dies

Autoweek publisher emeritus and Crain Communications VP Leon Mandel III, 73, died March 5 of leukemia. Mr. Mandel spent 40 years writing and reporting on the car world. He joined Crain in 1983 as editor of AutoWeek, and was named publisher in 1988. In 1989, he was named a company VP. At other times in his career, he served as editor of Competition Press (AutoWeek's predecessor), senior editor at Motor Trend and managing editor of Car and Driver. In 2000, he received an Automotive Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Citation. Mr. Mandel was the author of six books, including "American Cars." He was also managing editor of AutoWeek'sTV show on Speedvision. Crain publishes Advertising Age.


U.S. figure skater Michelle Kwan, a bronze medalist at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, struck a three-year deal as a spokeswoman for Walt Disney Co. QwikFIND aan26g. ... A restructuring charge of $252 million, related largely to the closing of Smart Partner and folding Interactive Week into eWeek, resulted in Ziff Davis Media reporting a net loss of $295.9 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31. Revenue for the company fell 41.2%, to $73.9 million, and the company posted an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization loss of $4.5 million, compared with a positive EBITDA of $19.1 million for the comparable quarter in 2000. For the nine months ending Dec. 31, including restructuring charges, revenues were down 36.4% to $224.6 million, and the net loss was $415.7 million.QwikFIND aan26z ... The U.S. Postal Service, under pressure to reorganize, will unveil its own "transformation" plan April 4, Robert Rider, chairman of the Postal Service Board of Governors, announced at a governing board meeting. Postal officials declined to release any plan details.QwikFIND aan26I ... G. Michael Sievert, 32, was named exec VP-chief marketing officer of AT&T Wireless. Mr. Sievert steps into the newly created position from E-Trade Group, where he was chief marketing and sales officer.QwikFIND aan27c

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