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FutureBrand Cuts 10-20 Percent of Staff

NEW YORK—FutureBrand, the brand-identity unit of Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, is slashing staff in North America to meet shortfalls in revenue, sources said. FutureBrand will lay off 10-20 percent of its North American workforce by the end of the year, said sources. Cuts began in early summer and are continuing, said sources, though a FutureBrand representative denied there would be any more layoffs. In August, the company installed a new North American CEO, former McCann-Erickson director of account management Richard O’Leary.

Arbitron, Nielsen to Test Outdoor Ratings Systems

NEW YORK—Arbitron and Nielsen Media Research are ramping up efforts to supply audience-measurement data to the outdoor industry, with support from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. The group has pledged $300,000 for an Arbitron test this fall in Atlanta and $15,000 to Nielsen, which this month begins testing an outdoor-ratings system in Johannesburg, South Africa. Both tests will offer demographic data, a first for the industry. For 70 years, the outdoor-advertising industry has relied on counts of cars passing billboards and other displays, provided by the Traffic Audit Bureau.

Plot Thickens: DDB Disputes Calif. Lottery ReBid

LOS ANGELES—The battle for the California Lottery’s five-year, $125 million account took another turn last week as lawyers for Omnicom Group’s DDB sent a letter to lottery officials disputing a plan to rebid the media portion of its account and threatening legal action, sources said. The letter charged that lottery officials ignored the central issue in DDB’s protest filed in August: whether IPG’s Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco submitted “materially inaccurate information” in response to the RFP, said sources. The letter repeated DDB’s request for an audit of FCB’s submission. DDB, then FCB, appeared to have won the account in two separate reviews held by the lottery this year. The lottery last month said it will solicit new bids for media costs from FCB and Los Angeles shops DDB, the incumbent, Grey, and McCann-Erickson.

Ad Stocks End Week Down After Battering

NEW YORK—Stocks of the largest advertising holding companies finished the week down after taking a beating in Wednesday trading. Omnicom shares closed Friday at $52.10, down $3.58, or 6.4 percent, for the week; WPP Group finished at $32.28, down $1.28, or 5.3 percent, for the week; and Interpublic Group closed at $14.56, down $1.29, or 8.1 percent, for the week. It was unclear what prompted the selloff on Wednesday; sources pointed to investor skittishness related to bad-earnings news from two marketing companies: Advo, a Wilton, Conn., direct marketer; and Catalina Marketing in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Account Activity

Home & Garden Television, a cable network owned by E.W. Scripps, has launched a review for its $10-12 million traditional and interactive account, the client said. Initial questionnaires are due back Thursday. It is unclear if the incumbent, Lewis Communications in Birmingham, Ala., is participating. Consultancy AAR Partners in New York is managing the process.