The Week

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Minority flap slows local Nielsen plans

Nielsen Media Research last week delayed the rollout of its "local people meters" in the New York market under pressure from local lawmakers and network executives who fear an undercounting of minority viewership. The electronic people meters, which were to replace handwritten diaries kept by TV viewers, were slated for an April 8 launch. Following the outcry against the device, Nielsen plans to form a task force to ensure minority viewers are accurately counted. But TV and media executives say much of the pressure comes from the networks . People meters introduced in Boston in 2002 reported significant audience shift from local TV to cable networks, and New York networks are afraid the same phenomenon would occur. "Networks love the national people meters," a media agency executive said, "but they're afraid of the local numbers, because they are coming up short." The two-month New York delay throws a wrench into Nielsen's plan to double its national people meter sample to about 10,000 homes by expanding its local people meters to the top 10 markets between now and 2006. QwikFIND aap52b

Campbell sheds soup prez post

Campbell Soup Co. eliminated the position of president-U.S. Soup division, formerly held by Jeremy Fingerman, and named three new VP-general managers to oversee marketing for its food and beverage brands. Mr. Fingerman left March 31 after 11 years with Campbell, the last four heading up efforts to revitalize its ailing soup business. "He did about all he could do," said Neuberger Berman analyst Bill Leach. Mr. Leach noted that Campbell's soup sales have been erratic, especially as it continues to battle against General Mills' Progresso, but the most recent second quarter ended in January showed soup volume growth of 6%. Diane Teer was named VP-general manager of beverages, Lynn Ambrosia named VP-general manager of sauces and meal preparation and Sean Connelly named VP-general manager of soup and meal consumption. QwikFIND aap51z

KFC to hire Trump's No. 2

Attempting to build buzz for its upcoming Roasted Chicken product launch, KFC last week said it will hire the runner up of NBC's "The Apprentice" for one week as chief sales officer with a $25,000 salary and a year's supply of KFC products to help launch the non-fried product. The KFC pick will work alongside Gregg Dedrick, president-chief concept officer, Scott Bergren, chief marketing and food innovation officer and others on the marketing team for the week of April 19. Donald Trump on April 15 will hire one apprentice for a $250,000 per year salary in a live series finale.

AT&T Wireless drops Goodby

At&t wireless, in the early stages of a possible merger with Cingular Wireless, parted with Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, last week. The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are in various stages of reviewing Cingular's proposed $41 billion acquisition of AT&T Wireless, which would make Cingular the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., overtaking industry leader Verizon Wireless. AT&T Wireless moved its estimated $125 million branding account to the agency in July 2003 from WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, which will continue to work on a retail account. The business is expected to be consolidated at Cingular's agency, Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide. Mark Siegel, an AT&T Wireless spokesman said because the merged company will be branded Cingular "it certainly didn't make sense to invest in a [AT&T Wireless] brand that will eventually go away." QwikFIND aap51t


Allen Rosenshine, chairman-CEO of Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, took home $5 million by exercising stock options April 1, according to a filing last week. Since September, Mr. Rosenshine has collected $9.1 million by cashing in options. He still owns $18.6 million in Omnicom stock. Mr. Rosenshine declined to comment. ... Magazines continued their months-long ad slide in March, as pages declined 1.9% from the year previous, according to Publishers Information Bureau. For the first quarter of `04, magazines' ad pages were down 2.3%....Merisant North America, marketer of Equal artificial sweetener, tapped MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, to handle creative and media buying and planning. Equal in recent months has faced increased competition from Johnson & Johnson McNeil Nutritionals' Splenda, which spent almost double ($21.8 million) what Equal spent last year ($11.5 million). For 2004, a Merisant spokewsoman said, spending will increase to $15 million. Kirshenbaum bested WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell, New York, teamed with sibling MindShare, and independent Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago. QwikFIND aap51o

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