Sony Ready to Hand BBDO, 180 $60 Mil. U.S. Consumer Account

NEW YORK Sony is in final negotiations to award its $60 million U.S. consumer electronics business to a team from Omnicom’s BBDO here and independent shop 180, sources said. The holding company since June has been in talks to take a minority stake in Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based 180 [Adweek Online, June 26]. Sources said the account moved from Havas’ McKinney in Raleigh, N.C., after a review. A Sony representative declined to comment. Executives at the agencies either declined comment or could not be reached.

Nielsen Again Delays Release Of Commercial Ratings

NEW YORK Nielsen Media Research has postponed the release of commercial ratings data that had been scheduled for Dec. 11. The company, a unit of Adweek parent VNU, did not provide a new issue date. Nielsen said it would schedule a “client meeting” in coming weeks to discuss the delay and other issues related to the controversial ratings proposal. Sources attributed the delay (Nielsen’s second as it struggles with the launch) to one network “opting out” of the system altogether to protest the company’s decision to issue live commercial ratings. One source identified ABC as the network. ABC declined comment. If one of the four major networks opts out, the commercial ratings initiative could collapse, per sources.

Publicis Q3 Revenue Grows Just 2.5%, Hitting $1.3 Bil.

BOSTON Publicis Groupe’s third-quarter organic revenue grew more slowly than expected, rising 2.5 percent to $1.3 billion, compared with the same period in 2005, the company said on Thursday. CEO Maurice Lévy attributed the lackluster performance to some accounts winding down and the cancellation of campaigns. Separately, the Paris-based holding company appointed three key managers. Philippe Lentschener was named to the new position of chairman and CEO of Publicis in France. He had been vice president of European operations at sibling Saatchi & Saatchi. Arthur Sadoun joined Publicis Counseil as CEO, and Valerie Henaff arrived as managing director. Both previously held senior posts at Omnicom’s TBWA/Paris. The additions were prompted by the exits of Publicis Counseil chairman Christophe Lambert and CDs Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart, who in January will launch Fred/Farid/Lambert.

McDonald’s Appoints AKQA Lead Global Digital Shop

NEW YORK Independent shop AKQA won a review to serve as McDonald’s lead agency for global digital initiatives. Omnicom’s Tribal DDB, which is the restaurant chain’s lead digital agency in the U.S. and several international markets, also pitched, along with undisclosed other shops, according to sources. As lead digital agency, AKQA will set strategy and build a digital platform for McDonald’s initiatives worldwide, including the Web and mobile. AKQA will work with McDonald’s local agencies on executions in various media. It is the San Francisco agency’s fourth global assignment, joining Coke, Microsoft’s Xbox and Diageo’s Smirnoff. “It’s indicative of [large brands] shifting their focus and making sure they have the right resources and assignments for digital,” said Tom Bedcarré, AKQA’s CEO.

3 Shops Chase NYC Account Designed to Drive Tourism

NEW YORK New York City is seeking an ad agency to help reach its goal of topping 50 million annual visitors by 2015, sources said. Some 43 million tourists are projected to visit the city this year, and a 7 million increase in visitors would amount to a 16 percent rise. The city’s search has been narrowed to three New York shops: Havas’ Arnold, IPG’s Lowe and Publicis-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, said sources. The finalists have been briefed and are slated to make final pitches in late November. The winning agency will develop a strategy for marketing New York City as a brand—a new assignment with estimated billings of $15-20 million. George Fertitta, the city’s marketing chief and ex-chairman of Margeotes Fertitta Powell here, is spearheading the review. The agencies either declined comment or referred calls to Fertitta, who, through a rep, declined to comment.