Gerzema Steps up as U.S. President of Universal McCann

NEW YORK Mary Gerzema has been named president of Universal McCann in the U.S., one of the first key appointments made by UM Worldwide CEO Nick Brien, who took the reins of the IPG media agency last October. Gerzema, who will report to Brien, joined UM in 2003 as communications director, running the New York office. She was a member of the UM team that pitched and won the U.S. Army media account late last year. Prior to UM, Gerzema, 42, was media director and general manager at Fallon New York starting in 1998 and spent the previous eight years at Fallon’s Minneapolis office as media strategist on a number of major accounts. “I have been incredibly impressed with Mary’s strategic vision for our business and her creative talent and commitment for improvement that I am confident will ensure her success in running this important region,” wrote Brien in a statement.

Coke Spends $3.5 Mil. on Super Bowl; Hummer is Late Entry

NEW YORK The Coca-Cola Co. spent an estimated $3.5 million on several spots in the Super Bowl pre-game show for its new energy drink brands Vault and Full Throttle, sources said. Coke representative Susan McDermott confirmed that it bought a total of 150 seconds for the two brands, but declined to comment on the media spend. Two Vault spots from Publicis and three Full Throttle spots from Mother, both New York, were set to air. The Vault work is themed, “Vault, get to it,” while Full Throttle is tagged, “Let your man out.” McDermott said both spots target the young male demographic. Also, General Motors’ Hummer was a late entry to the game, running a 60-second spot touting its midsize H3 vehicle during the third quarter. The ad, called “Monsters,” crafted by Modernista! in Boston, debuted last August during the MTV Video Music Awards.

White House Nominates Phone Association Exec for FCC

NEW YORK The White House on Friday said it would nominate Robert McDowell, svp and assistant general counsel for the trade association Comptel, to fill a seat on the Federal Communications Commission. McDowell would provide Republicans their first working majority in nearly a year. At least one seat has been open on the FCC since last March, when chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, left a commissioner’s seat open to assume his current post. A break in the agency’s partisan deadlock could clear the way for Martin to pursue a deregulatory agenda, including lessening restrictions on media ownership.

MTV’s Gamekillers Show Spawned By BBH, Unilever

NEW YORK The Gamekillers, a new scripted reality show that premieres tonight on MTV, was developed by Unilever’s Axe, its agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, and, BBH confirmed. The hour-long program features a series of characters, such as British Accent Guy and One-Upper, who insert themselves into dates to “kill” a guy’s “game,” according to The creators pitched the concept to several networks before MTV bought it, said sources. The storyline dovetails with BBH’s “Keep your cool” positioning for Axe Dry, which comes in five scents. The product, however, does not appear in the show. The Publicis-backed BBH referred other questions to the client, which could not be reached.

News Roundup

A decision could come this week in Frito-Lay’s creative review of its $30 million-plus Doritos account, sources said. Omnicom’s BBDO in New York is the incumbent and pitched on Jan. 27 against siblings DDB Chicago, GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, at client headquarters in Plano, Texas. Sources said the client asked for a new positioning for the brand, which currently has a “bold and daring” positioning. … Pier 1 Imports is expected this week to name one of two agencies to advertise its spring merchandise, sources said. Slingshot and The Loomis Agency, both in the Dallas area, were called in to make pitches after Pier 1 parted ways with Deutsch in December, sources said. The new work will involve TV and print. A representative said the company is seeking new creative resources.