WPP, Brooks Settle Lawsuit Before Trial

NEW YORK—WPP Group and its chief human resources officer, Brian Brooks, have reached an out-of-court settlement in WPP’s lawsuit against Brooks, sources said. The settlement, which was signed last week, came days before the case was to reach trial before London’s High Court. Brooks resigned from his post last year and subsequently accepted an offer to become evp of human resources at Interpublic Group. But in addition to one year’s notice, his contract stipulated that he could not work for a competitor for another two years. Sources indicated Brooks could join IPG as soon as October. Brooks did not return calls, and WPP could not be reached. IPG declined comment.

Initiative Moves Office; Bozell, Mullen Report to Lowe

NEW YORK—Initiative Media’s New York operation will move into the building occupied by sister shop Lowe by Aug. 1, as parent Interpublic Group moves to cut real-estate costs, sources said. Also, the two shops may share back-office services, in a further bid to cut costs. Separately, two Partnership agencies, Mullen and Bozell, are now reporting to IPG through Lowe.

JWT Holds On to U.S. Marines Business

ATLANTA—J. Walter Thompson in Atlanta defeated two undisclosed contenders last week to retain the five-year, estimated $200 million U.S. Marine Corps account. Sources said the agency will retain its tagline, “The few. The proud. The Marines.” Upcoming efforts will target “influencers,” including veterans, coaches, teachers, counselors and parents. A campaign, “Marines for Life,” will target veterans through the Internet, alumni publications and other media. Another effort will focus on the Marines’ tradition of father-to-son enlistment.

House Members Plan to Cut ONDCP’s Ad Budget

WASHINGTON—House lawmakers are proposing to cut the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s anti-drug media campaign by $10 million to $170 million, according to language in the House Appropriations bill. The bill also calls for $150 million to be dedicated solely to media buys. All future appropriations for the campaign will be based on studies of its effectiveness.

Round of Layoffs Hit Agencies

NEW YORK—Bozell last week laid off about 65 employees, or 15 percent of its 430-person staff, according to sources. At Modem Media, Norwalk, Conn., 90 staffers—nearly 25 percent of its global work force—will be let go once the agency closes its Toronto, Munich and Hong Kong offices, the shop said. Weber Shandwick in Cambridge, Mass., last week cut 14 people, or about 7-10 percent of its staff, in response to continued softness in the high-tech market. Foote, Cone & Belding in Irvine, Calif., last week laid off 12 workers, or about 7 percent of its staff.

Account Activity

Bozell is splitting with Brown-Forman, marketer of Finlandia Vodka, due to philosophical differences, the New York shop and client confirmed. The client said no decisions have been made about a review. … BBDO won creative duties on Bank of America’s Asset Management Group account, without a review, the client said.