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WPP Media Division Sues Harris Drury Cohen



NEW YORK—Media Marketing Solutions, a unit of WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, has accused Harris Drury Cohen of breach of contract in a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York. MMS, which HDC hired to handle media planning and buying for its clients, claims in court papers that HDC underpaid the shop for services rendered last year. The papers allege that HDC owes MMS $124,214, which is the difference between what HDC paid and the $234,000 "minimum guarantee" specified in the contract. MMS seeks damages in that amount, plus interest, punitive damages and attorneys' fees. The case is now before a U.S. magistrate. MMS' attorney declined comment; a lawyer for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based HDC could not be reached.

Tobacco Cos. Up Promo Spending, Cut Print Budgets

WASHINGTON—The six largest cigarette makers increased spending on tobacco ads and promotions by 16 percent from 1999 to 2000, according to the Federal Trade Commission's annual report released Friday. Spending rose from $8.2 billion in 1999 to $9.5 billion in 2000. While cigarette companies spent more on offers to retailers, promotions and point-of-sale ads, they cut spending in magazines by 22 percent (to $294.9 million) and in outdoor by 82 percent (to $9.8 million). A Philip Morris rep said the company is committed to reducing its ad profile while responsibly selling cigarettes at retail to adult smokers.

Bill Proposes Charging Cos. for Misleading Drug Ads

WASHINGTON—Reps. Tom Allen (D-Maine) and Marion Berry (D-Ark.) introduced a bill last Thursday that would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to fine companies up to $10 million for false or misleading prescription-drug advertising. Allen said the FDA reviews only a small number of such ads and has the authority only to issue warning letters if it finds infractions.

Roundup

Bozell has hired Ruth Ayres, former chief marketing officer for Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, as managing partner and director of marketing. Reporting to president Tom Bernardin, she will focus on new-business development. ... A decision is imminent in Cisco Systems' $50-60 million review, following final presentations from TBWA\Chiat\ Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., and JWT & Tonic and Grey, both in San Francisco. Incumbent Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos declined to defend. ... Sources said four agencies are awaiting word on the broadcast creative portion of Long John Silver's $20 million account: Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich.; Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York; BBDO New York; and FCB Chicago. Creative Alliance in Louisville, Ky., will continue to handle print creative, while Empower MediaMarketing in Cincinnati does media. The client split with Fallon last month. ... MatchWorks, a New York consultancy, is conducting a review for the New York Knicks, sources said. There is no incumbent. ... Ogilvy & Mather in Chicago laid off 20 employees, or 13 percent of its staff. The shop cited the tough economy and reduced client spending. Separately, Ogilvy in New York has hired two senior account planners: Robin Bardolia, from Fallon, New York, and Nelson Freitas, from TBWA\Chiat\Day, San Francisco. They become senior partners, worldwide group planning directors.