Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

$740 Mil. Retail Media Account In Play; Incumbents Will Defend

CHICAGO WPP’s MindShare and MEC Interaction have been invited to defend their portions of Sears Holding Corp.’s $740 million media account, covering both the Kmart and Sears retail chains. The Hoffman Estates, Ill., company is looking for “ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness” of their media business, according to a statement. Creative assignments—currently at WPP agencies Grey in New York (Kmart) and Young & Rubicam in Chicago (Sears)—are not affected by the review. Sears Holdings was formed in March 2005 after Kmart Holding Corp. acquired Sears, Roebuck and Co. for an estimated $12.3 billion.

Y&R Brings In Mitch Caplan As North American CMO

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam last week hired The Kaplan Thaler Group’s Mitch Caplan as CMO in charge of new business development for North America. Caplan, who starts May 1, fills a vacancy left by the December exit of Sally Kennedy, who held the role for 20 months. Caplan, 46, spent about two-and-a-half years at Publicis’ Kaplan Thaler in New York, where he was managing director of business development and integration. During that time, the agency won accounts such as Office Depot, Revlon, Pfizer’s Lipitor and Marshalls. The hire comes as Hamish McLennan seeks a CEO for North America in New York. That post was vacated in January, when Chris Jaques left after just three months. In the interim, McLennan is steering the New York flagship

Social Media Gains Popularity Among Marketers

NEW YORK Forrester Research, in a survey of over 90 marketers, found social media is gaining broader acceptance, though it still trails far behind Web mainstays like e-mail, search marketing and display ads. Those with active blog programs rose from 13 percent in 2006 to 34 percent this year. By the end of the year, over half of the marketers expect to have one. While just over 20 percent of marketers are using social networks now, nearly 60 plan to do so by the end of the year. In 2006, just 13 percent of respondents said they used them.

CSO Krugelman Exits Y&R; Launches Consultancy

NEW YORK After 36 years at Young & Rubicam, Stephanie Kugelman has left her chief strategy officer post to launch a brand consultancy called ASO, A Second Opinion. Kugelman, however, is retaining ties to the WPP shop by keeping an office there and working for Y&R clients, such as Accenture, though not exclusively. Kugelman, 59, is contracted to consult to Y&R for at least a year and has taken the honorific title of vice chairman emeritus. The move took effect Feb. 1. ASO will advise marketers on their brand strategies and internal and external communications. Down the line, Kugelman, an account planner by training who had spent her entire career at Y&R, also envisions consulting to other agencies and nonprofit organizations.

PHD’s Grubbs Takes CEO Job With New Fuse N.A. Unit

NEW YORK PHD’s North America CEO Steve Grubbs has left the Omnicom-owned media agency to become CEO of the holding company’s newly formed unit, Fuse Sports and Entertainment Group in North America, which already exists in several European countries. The unit brings four companies, Highway Entertainment, Optimum Entertainment, Optimum Sports and Full-Circle Entertainment, under one umbrella entity. Grubbs reports to Omnicom Media Group CEO Daryl Simm. PHD New York president Matt Seiler, 45, succeeds Grubbs, 55, at the media agency.

DraftFCB Taps Martin for New Business Development Post

NEW YORK IPG’s DraftFCB last week hired Terry Martin as svp, director of business development, a new position for the merged agency. Martin, 40, had been a segment leader at Omnicom for the past two years working on the holding company’s estimated $600 million Bank of America account, which has various agencies including BBDO, Javelin and GMR working on it. At DraftFCB, Martin reports to New York general manager Wendy Lurrie and to chief global growth officer Toby Sachs, who is based in Chicago.

Second Life Users Dissapointed By Marketers’ Virtual Efforts

NEW YORK More than 70 percent of Second Life users say they are disappointed with the efforts of marketers on the site, according to a survey by Komjuniti, a Hamburg, Germany, research firm. Nonetheless, marketers continue to rush onto the virtual world: Two weeks ago, Coldwell Banker hung out a shingle on the site as “the first national real estate company to sell homes within the community.” The realtor is in good company. H&R Block, Adidas, IBM, Reebok, Toyota, Leo Burnett and Bartle Bogle Hegarty are among the dozens of firms already there. “The brand sites on Second Life currently look like they’re being treated in pretty much the same way as [traditional] advertising campaigns,” said Nils Andres, managing director at Komjuniti.

Avenue A/Razorfish Promotes Kinsella to U.S. West President

NEW YORK Avenue A/Razorfish has elevated Colin Kinsella to serve as president of its Western U.S. operations. Kinsella, 39, succeeds Clark Kokich, who in September 2005 was named worldwide president of the agency, a unit of aQuantive. The shop’s Western region includes offices in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., with more than 450 total employees. Kinsella was previously general manager of the agency’s San Francisco and Los Angeles outposts. In his new role, he said he would focus on two issues: retaining and attracting talent and building the agency’s capabilities in emerging technologies.

FCC Approves Univision Sale, Imposes Fine for Kids Violation

NEW YORK The Federal Communications Commission last week approved the sale of Univision Communications to Broadcasting Media Partners, a group of private equity companies, with certain conditions. Under a consent decree, Univision has agreed to pay a $24 million fine for violating children’s programming regulations. Univision also agreed to a detailed plan that will ensure its future compliance with the Children’s Television Act and other rules. Last June, Univision said it would be acquired by a group of private equity companies including Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group for $36.25 per share in cash. The transaction was valued at about $13.7 billion, including the assumption of $1.4 billion in debt.

Greyhound Hands $20 Mil. Ad Account to Butler, Shine

SAN FRANCISCO Greyhound Lines has awarded its ad account to Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, Calif., after a review, the client confirmed. As part of the review, Hispanic marketing was awarded to Vidal Partners in New York and PR duties went to the San Francisco office of Edelman. The total marketing budget is estimated at $20 million, per sources. In 2006 the Dallas-based client spent $15 million on advertising alone, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. When Greyhound launched the review in December, officials said they planned to integrate advertising, PR and other marketing services at a single shop. Dallas-based independent The Richards Group, which won the account in 2004, did not defend. Other contenders were undisclosed. Consultant Jan Boyle of Matchworks Online, New York, conducted the review, but did not return calls by press time.