The Week

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Interpublic will turn around-in 2008

interpublic group of cos. last week gave the first time frame for its turnaround process since last year's earnings restatements, saying it hopes to improve organic revenue growth and profitability by 2008. Speaking at the holding company's much-awaited Investor Day with a number of agency chiefs, Chairman-CEO Michael Roth stressed the need to improve operating margins to compete with those of its rivals. Interpublic has seen its growth and profits ravaged by costs of righting historic accounting issues and by client losses. Recently appointed Lowe CEO Steve Gatfield said the agency would eliminate a number of offices, shedding a number of majority-owned offices and affiliates. QwikFIND aar55n

Bloggers exempted from campaign-finance rules

the federal election Commission exempted political bloggers and many other Internet activities from campaign-finance regulation in a move that could boost political ad spending on the Web. The FEC, acting to implement a court order, said paid advertising from campaigns and political groups has to be disclosed but while campaigns must disclose payments to bloggers, bloggers themselves don't have to disclose remuneration they receive unless it's for running ads. QwikFIND aar55p

Ad Council unveils support-the-troops ads

the ad council is enlisting in the Pentagon's bid to get Americans to show greater moral support for U.S. troops. Print and radio public service ads urging Americans to go to the Web site, launched last week, where they can write to troops. One print ad from DeVito/Verdi, New York, features a picture of a soldier with the headline "Don't let their enemy's presence be felt more than yours." Radio ads feature soldiers thanking people for letters and comments. Other ads are aimed at the troops and direct them to the Web site. QwikFIND aar55s

Initiative taps Beaven as North American CEO

initiative worldwide last week hired MediaVest executive Richard Beaven as North American CEO. Mr. Beaven moves to the position from Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, where he was exec VP-managing director. He will report to Alec Gerster, CEO of Initiative Worldwide. Mr. Beaven takes on some of the responsibilities formerly handled by Carolyn Bivens, formerly president-chief operating officer, who left last June to become commissioner of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association. He will be based in New York. At MediaVest, Mr. Beaven led the agency's Procter & Gamble Co. planning business, and prior to that, worked on Coca-Cola. He moved to MediaVest in New York in 2001 as director-product development from sibling agency Starcom Motive in London, where he was U.K. planning director. QwikFIND aar55m

Conde Nast packs up 'Cargo' after two years

conde nast pulled the plug on Cargo, the men's shopping title that was introduced in March 2004. Cargo will cease publication after its May issue. "This was a difficult decision," said Charles H. Townsend, president-CEO, Conde Nast. "Although initial readership and advertising response were encouraging, we now believe the market will not support our business expectations." Men's shopping titles have proved more difficult to grow than women's magazines of the same genre. Fairchild shuttered Vitals Man (along with spinoff Vitals Woman) last September and Ziff Davis Media closed Sync two months later. Now Conde Nast will send Cargo subscribers GQ for the remainder of their subscriptions. Ariel Foxman, Cargo's editor in chief, and Lance Ford, VP-publisher, are leaving Conde Nast. QwikFIND aar55k

GM sees success with repricing plan

general motors corp. said it's seeing positive results from its U.S. repricing plan, launched Jan. 9 to replace multibrand incentive deals. GM said last week the average transaction price across all its models will be 3% to 4% higher in the first quarter than a year ago. The resale value of GM's large pickups rose by an average of three points, while the average for its midsize cars jumped six points. Even as the crowded midsize- sport-utility segment keeps sliding, GM's March incentive in the category was $3,906 per unit vs. Ford Motor Co.'s $4,186 and DaimlerChrysler's $6,021.GM predicted it would sell fewer vehicles in March in the U.S. than it did a year ago, mirroring the industry. "We've taken some very painful steps to run the business the right way," said GM's Mark LaNeve, VP-sales, service and marketing in North America. "We are sticking with our strategy." QwikFIND aar55j
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