IPG Shifts Toward Insider Board

NEW YORK—The exit of four “insiders” from Interpublic Group’s board of directors last week signals a shift toward a board dominated by outsiders—a move that resonated with industry analysts. The installation of MONY Group CEO Michael Roth further underscored the shift, which leaves a nine-member board with just two insiders: IPG CEO John Dooner and his CFO, Sean Orr. The departing directors are IPG vice chairman David Bell, 58; McCann-Erickson WorldGroup CEO Jim Heekin, 52; Lowe chairman Frank Lowe, 61; and Foote, Cone & Belding Group CEO Brendan Ryan, 59. Dooner, who mulled the changes for a year, said: “It’s about having the level of governance that shareholders deserve,” adding, “By definition, ‘outside’ means independent thought, and that is what the size and scope of the industry needs.”

AMD to Hear Pitches for $25-30 Mil. Business

SAN FRANCISCO—Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, Calif., is set to hear final pitches from three finalists for its $25-30 million account later this month, sources said. The finalists are LB Works in Chicago and McCann-Erickson and Young & Rubicam, both in San Francisco. Pitches are tentatively slated for Feb. 25-26, according to sources. Select Resources International in Los Angeles is the consultant.

‘Never Follow’ Leads McKinney’s Charge for Audi

ATLANTA—”Never Follow” is the themeline in McKinney & Silver’s new campaign for Audi. Three 30-second TV spots broke on NBC, CNBC and in spot cable markets last week. A 60-second TV spot, “Spirit,” will air at the end of the month. In it, a boy moves through a field of surreal images, grounded by a voiceover that exhorts: “Never stop dreaming … Never follow.”

Former Cannes CEO Joins Euro RSCG

NEW YORK—Romain Hatchuel, former CEO of the Cannes International Advertising Festival, has been named director of global new business at Euro RSCG, a new post, the New York-based network confirmed. Based in Paris, he will work with marketing, strategic and business-development teams to identify new-business opportunities. Hatchuel left his festival post last month. He was succeeded by Franz Prenner, president of the European Group of Television Advertising.

Banks Steps Down as 4A’s Media Policy Chair

ORLANDO—Allen Banks, evp and executive media director for Saatchi & Saatchi in New York, is stepping down after five years as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ media-policy committee. Renetta McCann, CEO of Bcom3’s Starcom North America, succeeds Banks, who will remain a member of the media-policy committee. The 4A’s also added some new officers last week. Ken Kaess, president and CEO of DDB, and James Heekin, chairman and CEO of McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, have been nominated to serve as chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the 4A’s board of directors. Kaess is currently vice chair. The board has also named three new “directors-at-large”: Robert Brennan, president of Leo Burnett; Michael Dolan, chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam; and Bob Jeffrey, president of J. Walter Thompson North America.

Ad Clutter Reaches All-Time High in Some Dayparts

ORLANDO—Commercial clutter on television during 2001 reached an all-time high in three dayparts—early morning, daytime and local news—and clutter levels for the late-night and network-news dayparts were also up over last year, according to the annual Television Commercial Monitoring Report, a joint study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers. Prime-time was the only daypart in which nonprogramming minutes decreased. Nonprogramming time in the early morning daypart was up to 18:02 minutes per hour, from 17:44 in 2000. Nonprogramming time was also up to 20:57 minutes in daytime, up from 20:03. It was up to 17:10 from 17:05 in local news, but down slightly to 16:08 from 16:17 in prime-time, the lowest it has been since 1998. Nonprogramming time includes network and local commercial time, public-service announcements, public-service promotions, on-air promotions by the networks, and program credits not run over continuing program action.

Newswire Roundup

Orbitz, the online travel service backed by several major airlines, shifted its media account to Carat USA and creative to Fusion Idea Lab, the company confirmed. The moves had been expected [Adweek, Feb. 4]. The moves end Orbitz’s nine-month relationship with TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, which handled creative and media. Spending was estimated at $30-40 million. … Home Depot confirmed last week that it is searching for a direct marketing agency. The Richards Group in Dallas is lead agency on the estimated $330 million ad account, which the client said is unaffected. Atlanta-based Home Depot has not previously done direct marketing, and there is no incumbent for that portion of the business. Media buying duties are handled by Initiative Media in Atlanta. A decision is expected in March. … Busch Entertainment is talking to several agencies in search of a creative concept that positions SeaWorld as a place where people can connect with nature, a company executive confirmed. The theme park division of Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis, is considering ideas from about six shops, both A-B roster shops and outside agencies, including the incumbent GSD&M in Austin, Texas, said Michael LaBroad, Busch Entertainment’s vp of corporate branding. LaBroad declined to identify the other shops but said the company is looking at a wide range of work. Busch spends about $10-15 million on measured media for SeaWorld a year, according to CMR.