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Big Chunk of Campbell's Media Is Moving to MEC in London

NEW YORK Campbell Soup Co. is planning to pool most of its global media duties at Mediaedge:cia in London. WPP's MEC will pick up the client's media buying and planning in Mexico and parts of Europe and Asia-Pacific, while extending existing relationships in Hong Kong, Russia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Guatemala and Puerto Rico. The handoff from various Campbell roster shops is set for Aug. 1. The client spends more than $1.2 billion annually on global marketing, but the value of the work moving to MEC could not immediately be determined. MEC's New York headquarters has handled the food giant's $330 million-plus media chores in the U.S. Campbell has begun an open-ended "strategic review," and there's a chance more work will shift.



AOL, Burnett, CBS to Produce 'TiVo Buster' Program on Web

NEW YORK AOL and Mark Burnett, creator of Survivor and The Apprentice, have teamed with CBS to mount a Web-based treasure hunt titled Gold Rush! Real-life "gold diggers" will race to find more than $2 million in bullion stashed across America. "CBS can offer advertisers a way to make their [ads] more relevant," said Burnett. "It's a TiVo buster—instead of people TiVo-ing through the commercials, they're going to be TiVo-ing again and again to watch [for clues]." The interactive series will appear on AOL.com, with sister sites AIM.com, Moviefone.com and MapQuest.com, CBS TV, radio, magazines and mobile media disseminating clues. What are the ad prospects? George Schweitzer, president of the CBS Marketing Group, noted, "Since we announced it at our upfront, our sales department [has been] swamped with requests for presentations." Clues will test viewers' knowledge of existing programming and commercials.



FCB Receives Creative Nod On $45 Mil. Gerber Account

NEW YORK Novartis has confirmed its selection of Foote Cone & Belding here to handle creative chores on its Gerber account. Estimated billings are $45 million. In a statement, the client wrote, "FCB won the account based upon its ability to provide full services across advertising and marketing platforms on a global basis." The IPG shop participated in a review in which Havas' Euro RSCG and WPP's Grey, both New York roster agencies of Novartis, also made final presentations in late February. The incumbent, independent Noble BBDS in Chicago, also participated, sources said. The Parsippany, N.J., client has been testing creative submissions for the past several weeks, sources said, and began negotiating with FCB last week. Media duties, at WPP's MindShare, were not part of the review.



Reebok Hands Adidas' Becker International Marketing Reins

BOSTON Reebok has appointed Uli Becker director of global marketing for its core namesake brand. In this newly structured executive role, Becker will oversee worldwide product, sports and brand marketing, as well as public relations, reporting to Paul Harrington, Reebok president and CEO. He starts his new job on July 17. Currently, Becker heads global brand marketing at Adidas and serves as managing director of Adidas International in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Reebok, a unit of Adidas, spends approximately $100 million annually on global marketing, according to sources, and about $50 million in U.S. measured media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Becker, a 16-year Adidas veteran, will relocate to Reebok's headquarters in Canton, Mass. He succeeds Dennis Baldwin, who is leaving Reebok to pursue new professional interests.



Telemundo Eyes Horizon Media For Planning and Buying

LOS ANGELES Telemundo and its affiliated station groups are in final negotiations to consolidate all of the network's media buying and planning duties at Horizon Media, according to sources. The Telemundo account is worth $20-25 million, sources said. New York-based Horizon already handles a large portion of Telemundo parent NBC's media assignment, but the deal marks the first time the two networks will closely coordinate their marketing efforts across media platforms. Publicis' Fallon in Minneapolis also handles some client media chores.



First CMO at eHarmony Won't Rock Agency Boats

LOS ANGELES Online dating service eHarmony has named Philip Armstrong its first CMO, the company said. A former vp of marketing at Ditech in Costa Mesa, Calif., Armstrong said eHarmony would preserve brand integrity by continuing its "power of testimonials that work so well they can't be faked." He said his arrival would not signal agency changes. The Pasadena, Calif.-based firm uses independent direct-response specialist Donat/ Wald, Santa Monica, Calif., for TV and radio ads; Omnicom's Tribal DDB, Venice, Calif., for online efforts; and indie Ocean Media, Huntington Beach, Calif., for buying and planning duties. The client spent $60 million on ads in 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence.

$170 Mil. Expedia in Review; Deutsch/LA Will Not Defend

LOS ANGELES Expedia.com said it would place its ad account in review. The Seattle-based online travel service, which spent $170 million on domestic advertising last year, per TNS Media Intelligence, has used IPG's Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., for creative and media. The agency, which has held the business since its inception seven years ago, said it would not defend. It was not clear if Expedia would use an outside consultancy to oversee the agency search process. "This is like your car breaking down and pointing the finger at your financial advisor," said Mike Sheldon, president of Deutsch/LA. "We had them for seven years and watched the company grow from zero to $10 billion. We know we had something to do with that growth, and that's a source of pride for us. I'm really proud of the work we've done over that time." Sources said the decision to hold a review is based at least in part on Expedia's recent lackluster financial performances.



Aegis Group Raises Objections To Bolloré's Board Nominees

NEW YORK Aegis Group has urged shareholders to veto a proposal from Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré to add two directors to the Aegis board at the company's annual meeting, which has been rescheduled to June 14 from May 24. Bolloré (below) last week upped his stake in Aegis to 27.5 percent from 25.5 percent. He manages his Aegis investment through a company separate from Havas, parent of the Arnold, Euro RSCG and MPG agency networks. Bolloré is seeking to place Philippe Germond and Roger Hatchuel on the Aegis board. (Germond is a former president of French wireless phone company Alcatel. Hatchuel is the former director of the Cannes International Advertising Festival.) Five of 11 board seats are up for re-election, including the seat held by Carat Americas CEO David Verklin. Aegis in a statement cited the "conflict of interest" represented by Bolloré's controlling stake in Havas: "Accordingly, the board believes it is not possible for any director appointee proposed by Bolloré Group to be deemed sufficiently independent to act in the interest of all Aegis shareholders." Aegis also wrote, "The board remains absolutely focused on delivering full value for all Aegis shareholders and will not favor any single shareholder group over and above the interests of Aegis shareholders as a whole." Bolloré's nominees need a simple majority of votes to gain approval.