Havas to Cut 850 Jobs, Shed 20 Companies in Restructuring

NEW YORK French holding company Havas said last week that it will eliminate 850 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce, by the end of the year as part of a $203 million restructuring plan. The cuts follow the shedding of 747 positions in the first half. Havas posted a first-half loss of $65.8 million. Bob Schmetterer, Havas president and COO, also said the company will sell or close 20 undisclosed units. He confirmed that direct marketing agency Brann Worldwide and PR shop Magnet, part of Havas’ Arnold network, will move to its Euro RSCG Worldwide division. Fifteen marketing services companies in countries including Spain, France, the U.K. and the Netherlands, will also be rolled into Euro RSCG.

Honda Owners Look Like Their Cars in New Postaer Spot

LOS ANGELES To show consumers that Honda offers a broader range of products than they think, American Honda Motor Co. breaks a corporate-image spot today in which Honda owners’ faces have contours similar to their cars (the Accord, Pilot, Odyssey, Element and Civic). The 30-second commercial, from Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica, Calif., is the client’s first image spot since 1996. Eleven more ads, showcasing individual models, break throughout the fall. Spending on the effort was not disclosed. AHMC spent an estimated $420 million last year on car and truck ads, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

2 Vie for Brown & Williamson’s New Cigarette Brand

NEW YORK Two agencies made presentations last week to Brown & Williamson Tobacco, the U.S. division of British American Tobacco, for a brand it wants to launch in the U.S., sources said. Two roster shops, WPP’s 141 and Grey’s G2, are vying for what sources described as a “reduced-risk” cigarette called Advance, now being test-marketed. A decision is slated for October. Agency execs did not return calls. A BAT rep referred questions to B&W, which did not return calls. Philip Morris is gearing up to launch a similar cigarette next year, sources said, and Publicis’ Leo Burnett in Chicago will likely handle advertising. Phillip Morris reps did not return calls.

‘American Beauty’ Director ‘Does It eBay’

SAN FRANCISCO Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director of American Beauty, makes his advertising debut this week with an eBay commercial from Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco. The 30-second spot, which breaks Thursday, continues the “Do It eBay” tagline, this time using Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” reconfigured as “Do You Know the Way to Use eBay?” The second of three ads directed by Mendes will break in movie theaters Nov. 9. eBay spent about $60 million on ads last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

FCB Puts Spotlight on Product in Debut for KFC

CHICAGO Foote Cone & Belding’s first work for new client KFC will focus on the food, sources said. The Yum Brands! chain has asked for a fourth-quarter campaign that makes viewers want to “lick the screen,” according to one exec, rather than spots that are humor- or celebrity-driven, like work from incumbent BBDO New York. FCB Chicago won the creative portion of the $225 million business last Tuesday. Omnicom’s BBDO retains Yum! Brands’ Pizza Hut and Long John Silver’s accounts, while FCB adds to its Taco Bell work. KFC media remains at WPP’s Mediaedge:CIA.

Five Agencies Get Briefed on Coke Media Planning and Buying

Los Angeles Five contenders for Coca-Cola’s $380 million U.S. media planning and buying consolidation received a brief that is “far beyond just [planning and buying],” said one source. “It’s about content, entertainment, everything.” Integrated marketing vp David Raines briefed the following agencies at Coke’s New York offices last week: incumbent IPG’s Universal McCann; WPP’s MindShare; Aegis’ Carat, which handles Coke media in several European markets; and the planning incumbent on Coke brands, Publicis’ MediaVest, all in New York; and Publicis’ Starcom in Chicago, planning incumbent on Minute Maid. The Publicis siblings will pitch jointly under the Starcom MediaVest Group umbrella. Presentations take place in Atlanta the last week in October, with a decision due in November.