Sam's Club taps StrawberryFrog

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Wal-mart's sam's Club warehouse division has chosen independent StrawberryFrog, New York, to lead its creative and branding business, according to a statement from the agency. Sam's Club spent $15 million in measured media in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence. But executives close to the review have said media billings could rise as high as $100 million. Scott Goodson, CEO-chief creative officer at StrawberryFrog, attributes the win to the agency's media-agnostic approach. "We spark cultural movements for brands. ... We demonstrated throughout the pitch process that we do this through total engagement-that we don't default to mass media," he said.

Conde Nast pushes Katz from 'Vanity Fair'

conde nast Publications fired Alan Katz from his post as VP-publisher at Vanity Fair, where ad pages are down 14.7% so far this year, after months of expressing confidence in him. Edward Menicheschi, president of Conde Nast's WWD Media Worldwide, was named to succeed Mr. Katz, effective immediately. Charles H. Townsend, Conde Nast's president-CEO, told Advertising Age in May that, contrary to rumors, no Conde Nast publishers should be concerned about their jobs. After last week's move, Mr. Townsend said Mr. Katz is an excellent publisher who had been assigned-by Mr. Townsend-to a magazine that didn't fit his strengths. Other publishers at Conde books with troubling ad-sales trends this year, Jane and The New Yorker among them, can consider their jobs safe, Mr. Townsend said.

Kroger testing conveyor-belt ads

cincinnati-based Kroger Stores is the first national retailer to open checkout lines to conveyor-belt ads in a test in a few dozen of its stores, mainly in northwest Arkansas; Jackson, Miss.; and Memphis, Tenn. Harps Food Stores, a 52-store grocery chain based in Springdale, Ark., is also testing the system in 13 stores. "Conveyor belts have never been on anybody's radar screen for marketing," said Frank Cox, president-CEO of EnVision Marketing Group, a Little Rock, Ark., firm with a patented system to print digital-photo-quality ads directly on conveyor belts. "But a store with eight to 10 checkout lanes, well, you're talking about 100 square feet of wasted ad real estate." So far, the first marketers to sign up for the program are local businesses.

CBS rebroadcasts shows on broadband Innertube

just weeks after ABC touted the success of its online rebroadcasts of first-run shows, CBS has followed suit and will offer several of its top prime-time shows online through the network's broadband channel, Innertube. The network will offer "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "CSI: NY," "NCIS," "Survivor" and "Numb3rs," along with newcomer "Jericho." CBS Digital President Larry Kramer said the shows were chosen because the network has the most control over them, having either produced or co-produced them. He said he would like to have more shows on Innertube soon. Like ABC's offering, the shows feature limited commercials, probably three 30-second spots per show, Mr. Kramer said.

AOL, Burnett secure deals with five marketers

aol and Mark Burnett Productions have secured deals with five brands to sponsor their online treasure hunt "Gold Rush." Because of its highly interactive format, the reality show is being held out as the solution to consumers' TiVo-assisted ad-dodging, and their indifference to brand messages in general. Best Buy, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola Zero, T-Mobile USA and Washington Mutual have all signed on for the show, which follows contestants as they cross the country in search of booty. The show's producers are working with all five to mix their brands into online game play and offline gold "discoveries."

Sara Lee taps TBWA for Hillshire Farm account

sara lee Food & Beverage selected Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, to be its agency of record for the Hillshire Farm brand. The agency will assist in strategic development and execution of U.S. advertising for the brand, which spent $21 million in 2005 on media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles, won the flagship Sara Lee brand in May. TBWA/Chiat/Day is also the agency of record on Sara Lee's Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Senseo accounts. The reviews of both the Sara Lee brand and Hillshire Farm were part of a plan to consolidate creative duties for Sara Lee's North American Food & Beverage unit. Omnicom's Element 79 was the incumbent on the Hillshire Farm account.
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