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GM demands partners offer better integration

[detroit] General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner is calling together the top executives of 25 top media companies Sept. 14 in New York to request better integration of GM advertising in broadcast and print media with new digital technologies, Automotive News reports today. Among those invited to the so-called GM Media Partner Summit are Time Warner, Viacom, NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co., Google, Yahoo, Hearst Corp. and Primedia. The goal is to ensure that "none of our key media partners views us as the old GM," said Dennis Donlin, CEO General Motors Planworks. Joining Wagoner at the meeting will be Mark LaNeve, GM North America VP-Vehicle sales, service and marketing; and Michael Jackson, GM North America's VP-marketing and advertising.

Miller taps Y&R for Miller Genuine Draft

[milwaukee] Miller Brewing Co. tapped WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, Chicago, as the new agency of record for Miller Genuine Draft. Y&R, which had been languishing on Miller Lite's roster behind Crispin Porter & Bogusky, replaces Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, whose "Beer Grown Up" campaign failed to boost sales for the struggling brand. Miller spent about $23 million on MGD-related media during 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Coke set to unveil Far Coast in Toronto

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co. on Sept. 6 will unveil in Toronto its Far Coast premium hot-beverage brand, a spokesman said, confirming a wire- service report about the Canadian press briefing. The spokesman wouldn't provide further details, but Coke in November announced its plans for the "kiosk" system. Coke Chairman-CEO E. Neville Isdell in June said the marketer would launch the brand this year in Toronto, Singapore and Oslo, Norway.

Networks see gains in ad sales for football

[new york] Sales for football TV advertising are brisk and pacing ahead of last year, according to media buyers and sellers. ESPN has virtually sold out its "Monday Night Football" inventory; CBS, Fox and NBC are all around 85% sold. (Worth noting: ESPN sells about a third less inventory than the broadcast networks because its affiliate agreements give cable operators a share of inventory.) CPM increases over last year's pricing were 5% to 8%. Categories such as quick-service restaurants and autos were up and consumer-electronics spending on football grew about 20% over last year. The NFL regular season kicks off Sept. 7 on NBC when Pittsburgh hosts Miami.

Nike unveils round two in student-athlete serial

[new york] Nike on Sept. 7 unveils the second part of its ad campaign that features a day in the life of a student athlete at fictional Briscoe High. In the second part, the student grinds through a day of classes leading up to a Friday-night game under the lights. His all-star classmates and teammates include NFL stars Michael Vick, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Urlacher, Troy Polamalu and Matt Leinart. The spot, from Wieden & Kennedy, launches with the kickoff of the NFL season this week on NBC.

It's new CFO time, again, at American Media

[new york] Amid its effort to restate its financial results, American Media replaced its latest chief financial officer after less than eight months on the job. In a Sept. 1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, American Media said it had terminated Carlos A. Abaunza's employment and named John "Jack" Craven, who had been consulting for the company, to succeed him. Mr. Craven becomes the third CFO at American Media since 2005. Mr. Abaunza had been hired after a seven-month search to replace Thomas Severson, who resigned after less than three months in the post.

Tough times at storied shop

How many losses can they sustain at Margeotes Fertitta Powell?

First, its $23 million SunCom Wireless business went into review. Then a small spender that looms large in the shop's history, Godiva Chocolatier, departed. Other accounts no longer with MFP : Radisson (now Regent) Seven Seas Cruises and McGraw-Hill Cos. (It has added Perry Ellis and LP Building Products and tackled projects for Coke and Disney.)

Russel Wohlwerth, principal at A-Team Advisors, said while the fallout is a little troubling, there's a period of instability in reinvention. But a former partner, attributing client loss to neglecting core clients while searching for bigger, cooler marketers, said, "I frankly don't know how they are paying their bills."

MFP declined to comment.

-willow duttge
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