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Doner Tops Mullen, TBWA\C\D For $170 Mil. Expedia.com

BOSTON Expedia.com has confirmed hiring Doner to handle its estimated $170 million account following a review. IPG's Mullen in Wenham, Mass., and Omnicom's TBWA\ Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., also competed in the final round. All three agencies have ties to the client. Doner, an independent in Southfield, Mich., works for Expedia sibling Hotels.com. That link, as well the agency's retail acumen, helped it land the Expedia assignment, sources said. Mullen and TBWA\C\D work respectively on LendingTree.com and Ask.com, both units of InterActiveCorp, which spun out its travel-related businesses under the Expedia banner two years ago. Expedia parted with IPG's Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif., which handled both creative and media for the client since its inception seven years ago.



Brewer to Debut Bud.TV For Branded Entertainment

NEW YORK Anheuser-Busch said it would launch a broadband video site, Bud.TV, in February to provide branded entertainment online. The site will feature live and archived shows created by A-B's agencies, including Omnicom's DDB and Rogers/Townsend. The brewer hopes to attract 21-34-year-old target audience with a mix of original programming. August Busch IV, A-B's president, said in a statement, "With adults spending more time online looking for entertainment to fit their lifestyles, we believe Bud.TV will enable us to reach them in an engaging and fun way." Bud.TV will include a downloadable desktop app for users to view high-quality video, much like programming offered by Mountain Dew and Nordstrom. DDB will be lead agency, responsible for management and production, while R/T is designing the site. A-B has also tapped Hollywood production firms for content, including Vince Vaughn's Wild West Picture Show Productions, Kevin Spacey's TriggerStreet.com and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's LivePlanet.



Automotive Cutbacks Slow Spending Growth in First Half

NEW YORK Softness in the auto category held ad spending to a 4.1 percent gain to $73 billion for the first half of 2006, per TNS Media Intelligence. Following a 5.3 percent gain in first quarter expenditures due to Winter Olympics spending, second quarter spending rose slightly less than 3 percent. Across all media, TNS reported a 13.3 percent drop in U.S. auto spending and a nearly 4 percent decline in foreign auto expenditures for the first half of 2006. General Motors cut spending by 17.4 percent to $1.2 billion in that period. Auto spending in local newspapers was down by $610 million, a 25 percent decrease, contributing to a 4 percent overall ad decline in the first half to $11.6 billion. Consumer magazines saw a 22 percent drop in domestic auto ads and an 11 percent drop in imported auto dollars in the same period. In spot TV, U.S. auto spending was down 6.4 percent, though foreign improved 5.8 percent. Now the sixth-largest medium tracked by TNS, the Internet's share of ad spending has grown to 6.5 percent from 5.5 percent, while radio's share has declined to 7.2 percent from 7.5 percent. Newspapers' share dropped, from 20 percent to 18.5 percent. Television's share dipped from 44.3 percent to 43.5 percent. Overall Internet ad spending grew 19 percent in the first half to nearly $4.7 billion, and Spanish-language media gained 20.5 percent to $2.5 billion. Freestanding inserts grew 21 percent, and Sunday and local magazines were each up 10.5 percent. Network TV, the top-ranked media by overall ad spending, grew 5.7 percent to $12.2 billion. Consumer magazines were up 4.5 percent to $11 billion, spot TV gained 5 percent to $7.5 billion, national syndication was up 5.7 percent to $2.1 billion, and outdoor grew 8.2 percent to $1.8 billion. Cable TV began to slow, up only 2.5 percent to just above $8 billion.



Dauman Replaces Freston As Viacom CEO, President

NEW YORK Viacom said Tom Freston has stepped down as CEO and president, effective immediately. The 60-year-old Freston, who had taken the reins at the media conglomerate following its split from CBS at the beginning of the year, will be replaced by board member Philippe Dauman, a close associate of Viacom executive chairman and founder Sumner Redstone. The move comes soon after Viacom's Paramount Pictures unit severed its ties with actor Tom Cruise, a decision thought to have been engineered by Redstone without Freston's consent. Freston oversaw operations at MTV Networks and Paramount, the latter property having been assigned to Viacom following the January split.



Creative Departures Continue At Carmichael Lynch

CHICAGO Carmichael Lynch said it is parting with its CCO, Peter McHugh. McHugh, 49, joined the IPG agency in October 2004 from 180 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. "Peter's a talented guy with proven creative abilities," said John Colasanti, president of the Minneapolis shop. "Ultimately, however, he isn't a good fit with where this agency is going." As the shop searches for a new CCO, executive creative directors Jim Nelson, Tim Brunelle and Andrew Clarke will lead the creative department. Brunelle and Clarke were hired by McHugh. Though the shop's reel improved under McHugh's guidance, morale in the creative department had dropped, sources said. Creative turnover also had become cause for concern. Last November, CL hired Scott O'Leary and Ryan Peck from a crosstown rival as creative directors, but they returned to Fallon shortly thereafter. More recently, group creative director Hans Hansen and senior writer Eric Sorenson said they were leaving to join Fallon. Last month, chairman and former CCO Jack Supple—who helped hire McHugh as his successor—departed, saying he had moved into a position that was no longer professionally satisfying.



Eastwest Marketing Wins Bally Fitness Assignment

BOSTON Bally Total Fitness said it has named Eastwest Marketing Group to handle creative and promotional chores following a review. The Chicago-based client spent $75 million in measured media last year and close to $50 million through the first half of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Various shops and the client's in-house marketing department previously handled the assignment. Neither the client nor the New York-based independent agency would name the other shops that pursued the business. Publicis Groupe's Starcom and independent Grupo Gallegos continue to respectively handle general market and Hispanic media buying. Bally operates about 420 fitness facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Asia and the Caribbean.



Ford Picks Boeing's Mulally For Chief Executive Post

BOSTON Strugglng Ford Motor Co. has made a change at the top, naming longtime Boeing executive Alan Mulally to succeed Bill Ford as CEO, effective Oct. 1. Bill Ford, 49, who frequently ap-peared in the carmaker's ads, had been CEO since 2001. He is the great-grandson of the firm's founder, and he now becomes executive chairman. Mulally, 61, an evp at Boeing, led the company's commercial aircraft division for the past eight years, cutting some 35,000 jobs to maintain the unit's profitability. He is widely credited with helping to turn Boeing around. Overall, he spent 37 years at the company. Mulally will face a rough road at Ford, which lost $1.3 billion in the first half of 2006 and plans massive plant closings and layoffs to stay competitive. (Ford is trimming 30,000 jobs and shuttering 14 facilities in North America by 2012.) WPP's JWT in Detroit is Ford's lead agency. Ford spent about $2 billion in U.S. measured media last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.