Hotlines: Late-Breaking Industry News

J&J Reaches Out for Ideas For Its Rembrandt Brand
NEW YORK Johnson & Johnson has reached beyond Mother, lead creative agency on J&J’s Rembrandt oral care brand, sources said. Another J&J roster shop, WPP’s JWT in New York, is said to be developing concepts to present to client executives in the coming weeks. J&J also is mulling ideas from Mother, an independent that landed lead duties on the brand in early 2006 after a review. No other roster agencies, including IPG’s Lowe and Deutsch and Omnicom units DDB and BBDO, are believed to be participating in the drill, said sources. Sources described the assignment as a project and, as such, not something that would overturn Mother’s lead agency status. A more detailed description of the project, however, could not be ascertained. Mother and JWT declined to comment. A client representative said: “We can’t comment on rumors or speculation,” adding, “Mother continues to be Rembrandt’s [lead] agency.” J&J’s Rembrandt product line includes a toothpaste, tooth polish, tooth whitening strips, a mouthwash, a toothbrush and a breath freshener. Major media spending on the brand totaled more than $20 million in the first 10 months of 2007, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Verdict on Visa European Media Biz Forthcoming
NEW YORK A decision on media duties for Visa in Europe may be handed down as early as this week, sources said. In contention: incumbent WPP’s Mediaedge:cia and Omnicom’s OMD. Last week the client opted to retain OMD to handle media chores in the U.S. The shop also added significant business overseas, including Asia, Canada and Latin America. Visa spends about $650 million globally on ads each year. Sources estimate that the pieces OMD secured last week account for about 75 percent of the total business, with Europe accounting for the remaining 25 percent. The global account went into review in August with OMD and MEC emerging as the finalists.

Unilever Expected to Move Ice Cream Brand to Lowe
NEW YORK Unilever is moving ad chores on its Magnum ice cream brand to IPG’s Lowe from sibling McCann Erickson, according to sources. A client rep in London said, “There has not been a position taken on the Magnum account.” He added that the review is for Magnum only—not all of the Unilever ice cream business at McCann—which runs the account out of its London office. Magnum is the biggest global brand in Unilever’s ice cream portfolio. All told, the company spends about $300 million annually on ads supporting its global ice cream portfolio. Estimated revenue on all the brands that McCann handles is $20 million.

News Corp. Gives Away More Content on
NEW YORK News Corp.’s Dow Jones has provided free access to more online content from The Wall Street Journal in a possible precursor to a widely anticipated move to make all of free. In its opinion section last Thursday, the Journal said it is offering free access to all its editorials and op-eds as well as video content at Part of the site will be clips from the paper’s weekly TV show on the Fox News Channel, Journal Editorial Report. In the past, the paper had made “some content available free online, but Thursday’s move is a next step, even though the paper’s core news content remains a subscription service. News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin said in an investor presentation last week that the company hadn’t made a decision on whether to make all of free.

Study: Daily Traffic to Video Sites Climbs 15 Percent
NEW YORK Daily traffic to YouTube and other video-sharing sites has soared in the past year, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reports. In fact, such traffic has increased to 48 percent of adults, up from 33 percent last year, according to Pew’s survey released last week. Several factors contributed to this rise, including the increased penetration of broadband within households. Fifty-four percent of adults now have high-speed Internet connections at home. Pew’s national phone survey polled 2,054 adults.