TBWA taps LePlae for North America

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Omnicom Group's TBWA Worldwide promoted West Coast chief Robert LePlae to president of its North America operations, including day-to-day oversight of the network's New York office.

The widely expected move follows by a week the departure of Brett Gosper, formerly president of TBWA's New York Group now heading to Interpublic Group of Cos' McCann Erickson, where he'll be U.S. president. Part of Mr. Le-Plae's task will be to build on momentum the New York office, long a weak link in a strong network.

Highlights of Mr. Gosper's tenure included winning the consumer advertising business for Sprint Nextel, following its merger, and ad duties for American Century Investments.

Mr. LePlae, president-CEO of TBWA/California, continues to report to Worldwide President-CEO Jean-Marie Dru. The 45-year-old joined the agency's Los Angeles office in 1998. In addition to his New York responsibilities, he will oversee TBWA/Chiat/Day and Tequila offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq97x

Conde Nast reorganizes, pulls plug on `Vitals' titles

Advance Publications reorganized its independent magazine branches, including Fairchild Publications and Golf Digest Cos., into divisions of its highest-profile unit, Conde Nast Publications. In the first change to follow, Fairchild said it will close Vitals Man and Vitals Woman, companion lifestyle and shopping magazines less than a year old, with the winter issue of Vitals Woman. "Editor in Chief Joe Zee's editorial vision led to a unique editorial product that was well respected by both readers and advertisers," said Mary G. Berner, president of Fairchild Publications. "However, it has fallen short of our expectations, and as such, we have decided not to make the long-term investment it would have required." A Fairchild spokeswoman said the decision was made well before the reorganization at Advance. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq97h

Unilever shifts Vaseline biz to BBH

Unilever is shifting creative duties for its $30 million global Vaseline account to Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty from WPP Group's JWT. There was no review. The move is the latest Unilever win for Bartle Bogle, as it continues to expand its grasp on the package-goods giant's business. The shop in late 2003 picked up All detergent in the U.S. and is a contender for the global Omo/Sunlight/Wisk brand. The agency's New York office will head up the account. The move comes a year after Unilever moved the U.S. business to JWT from Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson Worldwide, New York. WPP Group's MindShare, New York, continues to handle global communications planning and media buying. Steve Miles, global brand VP-Vaseline, said, "We want to maximize our efficiency and effectiveness ... by moving to a single global partner." AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq97r

Web ad revenue reaches record, up 26% over `04

Internet advertising revenue for the first six months of 2005 hit a record high, according to a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Ad revenue for the second quarter totaled slightly less than $3 billion. For the first six months, revenue reached about $5.8 billion, a 26% increase over the first half of 2004. Results show that advertisers feel the interactive channel is an effective vehicle for both direct response and brand advertising, as shown by the continued strength in search and rich media advertising, which grew 27% and 26%, respectively, over the first half of 2005. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq96v

GM card rewards buyers of its cars, and rivals

General Motors Corp. started offering consumers a credit card last week with cash rewards for those who buy its cars-or a competitor's. The GM Flexible Earnings Card, co-branded with HSBC Bank and MasterCard, gives customers 1% cash back on credit-card purchases or the option to redeem that cash to buy a new vehicle from any manufacturer. Cardholders selecting a GM model get triple the rewards, or 3%, applied to their purchase or lease. Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Hummer and Pontiac brands are covered under the program; Saab and Saturn aren't. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq97k

Esurance picks MPG for media account

Online auto-insurer Esurance last week selected Havas MPG to handle national media buying and planning duties. MPG bested independent Palisades Media and Aegis Group's Carat in a review run by Santa Monica-based agency consultants Select Resources International. Kristin Brewe, director-brand and public relations, said the company has until now bought media locally, and hired MPG to handle national duties. Local buying and creative remains in-house. One executive familiar with the matter said spending would be around $75 million, but Esurance said that was inaccurate. Esurance would not comment on spending. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq96z

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