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Safeway hands DDB $200 million account

[pleasanton, calif.] Grocery-store chain Safeway has awarded Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago, its $200 million account, according to executives familiar with the situation. The review also included media-buying and -planning duties, which are moving to sibling PHD. The Omnicom pair bested Havas' Euro RSCG and MPG in the final round. The agencies didn't return calls for comment. The review was managed by Boston-based Pile & Co., which did not return calls for comment.

Hearst pulls plug on 'Weekend,' 'Shop Etc.'

[new york] Hearst Magazines pulled the plug on two of its newest magazines: Weekend, which many saw as a title designed to take on Time Inc.'s Real Simple, and Shop Etc., the company's entry into the shopping-mag category pioneered by Conde Nast Publications' Lucky. Hearst said the magazines weren't hitting performance goals amid a tough newsstand market and rising paper and postal costs. It declined to say what becomes of Weekend and Shop Etc. leaders, including Cynthia R. Lewis, publisher at Shop Etc., and Lauren Michaels, Weekend's publisher.

San Diego Ford dealers drop Dailey for JWT

[san diego] The newly formed San Diego Ford Dealers Advertising Association, with 13 large dealerships, has moved its advertising account from its agency of 30 years, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Dailey & Associates, West Hollywood, Calif., and Hispanic shop Madedo Advertising, Covina, Calif., to WPP Group's JWT, which handles 85% of U.S. local Ford dealers' business. Dailey continues as agency for the Southern California Ford Dealers Association. Earlier this summer, two Honda dealer associations in California, whose work has been handled by RPA, began reviews for an incremental ad spend. "Every make is concerned about the aggressiveness of Toyota," said Bob McClowry, executive VP-regional ad force, JWT. Billings were undisclosed.

Chevy ties in with MTV award show

[detroit] General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet division will partner with Viacom's MTV for an integrated blitz tied to the cable network's Video Music Awards Aug. 31 at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Not only will Chevrolet have preshow branded content during the broadcast, it will provide a fleet of 60 customized gas-saving E85 ethanol SUVs to transport talent. New TV spots breaking on MTV tout Chevy's fuel-saving models and aim to get visitors to, where people can create videos of things they'd like to do if they didn't have to spend so much time pumping gasoline.

Lite drafts football players for effort

[milwaukee] Miller Lite is adding more football stars to its "Men of the Square Table" roster for the upcoming NFL season. The "Square Table" spots by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which already star iconic men such as actor Burt Reynolds, wrestler Triple H and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Jerome Bettis, will add former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson, and former NFL referee Jerry Markbreit to the roster. Miller Lite is also sponsoring a "Square Table"-style argument segment on ESPN's "NFL Primetime" and initiating several new on-premise initiatives. Not to be outdone, Coors Light, which last week announced a deal to sponsor NBC's Sunday Night Football, is offering a "Silver Ticket" giveaway, and is bringing back its five-liter NFL keg can for the new season.

Coke taps Barkley to handle NCAA sponsorship

[atlanta] Coca-Cola tapped Barkley Evergreen & Partners, Kansas City, Mo., as its agency of record for activating Coke's corporate sponsorship of the NCAA. The agency's Sponsorship and Events unit bested several undisclosed roster shops in the pitch for duties supporting 88 national college championships excluding the men's Final Four basketball tournament, according to the agency. Billings weren't disclosed, but Coke in June 2002 paid $500 million for the 11-year deal giving it media rights as Corporate Champion.

GAO says anti-drug effort not effective

[washington] A Government Accountability Office report released today says the $100-million-a-year White House youth anti-drug advertising program and its focus on marijuana use didn't work. A drug office official and the head of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America dismissed the study's conclusion, saying it's based on old data and conflicts with another government study showing a steep decline in teen drug use.

Unilever co-brands Lever 2000, Vaseline

[greenwich, conn.] Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, has picked up the Lever 2000 brand, which is being co-branded with bigger skincare sibling Vaseline. Lever 2000 "with Vaseline ingredients" began hitting stores this summer, after Unilever quietly shifted the account from WPP Group's JWT, New York, to BBH late last year "around the same time" BBH won the global Vaseline account, a Unilever spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman said the co-branding move as paired the moisturizing benefits of Vaseline with the cleansing power of Lever 2000. Unilever spent $16.7 million on measured media for Lever 2000 last year, compared to $32 million on Vaseline, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Lever 2000 sales declined 16.1% to $61.8 million in the 52 weeks ended Aug. 13 as Vaseline sales dropped 0.9% to $108.1 million, according to Information Resources Inc. Vaseline is a global brand dating to the 19th century, while Lever 2000 is a North American brand launched in 1991. The combination resembles similar Unilever brand consolidations of recent years, such as Surf with All detergent.

FYI ...

Nissan North America today announced a new partnership with designer Marc Ecko. Mr. Ecko will customize two Nissan SUVs and create co-branded apparel that can be bought online at Nissan will take the SUVs on the road for invite-only consumer events in three cities. ... Windstream Communications tapped Media Kitchen for its media strategy and planning duties. Windstream is the spinoff of Alltel Corp.'s landline business and merger with Valor Communications Group. The Concept Farm has creative duties on the account. ... LeapFrog Enterprises has appointed Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, as its agency of record.
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