MPG Loses $500 Mil. VW In U.S., Canada to MediaCom

BOSTON Havas’ Media Planning Group on Friday said it lost Volkswagen’s North American media business to Grey’s MediaCom, ending a lengthy review in which the two roster shops were the only competitors. The client confirmed the move. The loss of the account, worth about $500 million, follows Havas’ Euro RSCG parting with $300 million client Intel, also in review, earlier this month. MediaCom, which also handles the bulk of VW’s $1.4 billion global media business, was expected to win [Adweek Online, Oct. 6], but MPG was given an additional round of presentations in November. The decision was further delayed as VW execs continued internal discussions after lobbying from VW of America officials, who wished to stay with MPG, while senior management in Germany leaned toward MediaCom, sources said. Officials at MediaCom could not be reached.

Shell Receives Proposals In $240 Mil. Media Review

NEW YORK Proposals were due back Friday in the Shell Group’s roster-shop review for its $240 million global buying and planning business. The advertiser’s media-agency roster includes IPG’s Initiative, Publicis’ Starcom MediaVest Group, Grey’s MediaCom and WPP’s Maxus, which handles parts of Asia and Australia. Agency presentations will be made in London on Feb. 10, and Shell will cut to a few finalists on Feb. 15, according to the form. Final presentations will be made in Houston in early April, with a decision due later that month.

Saatchi Brings ‘Fairly Tales’ To Life in $35 Mil. Avalon Work

LOS ANGELES Toyota is nearly quadrupling media spending behind its Avalon sedan to $35 million in a national effort to raise unit sales from 36,400 last year to 85,000 this year. The campaign from Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif., breaks Feb. 7 and features two spots that morph footage of the driving experience into fantastic imagery, such as the lines on the road transforming into swimming fish that trail the car. The “adult fairy tales” express Avalon’s “youthful boomer mind-set of optimism and possibility,” said creative director Steve Levit. Among several experiential projects is a paint-by-numbers mural outside Lincoln Tunnel in New York that will remain in place for a year. Others include ride-and-drive collaborations with fitness chain Curves and Starwood Resorts in Orlando, Fla., and integration into Oprah’s “Live Your Best Life” tour.

Doner Breaks Initial Work In $15 Mil. Quaker State Flight

NEW YORK Doner will break its first work for Quaker State, an estimated $15 million campaign that debuts Feb. 20 and supports the client’s “Q” line of motor oils. The campaign from the independent Southfield, Mich.-based shop uses print and TV to tout the oils proprietary heat-activated technology. In one ad, the Q motor oil morphs into golden steeds galloping alongside a cruising car. A voiceover says, “New Q from Quaker State: Unleash all of your horses.” Quaker State nearly doubled last year’s spend for this line, with the media portion alone representing a 50 percent increase over last year, the client said. Quaker State spent about $10 million on media from January through October 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Ads break during coverage of the Daytona 500 on Fox, then air on race coverage throughout the season and on cable channels such as ESPN, Comedy Central and MTV.

4 Shops Vie for $275 Mil. In Mattel Media Planning

NEW YORK The four contenders for Mattel’s $275 million media planning business made presentations last week at the client’s headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., sources said. Publicis’ MediaVest led off on Monday, followed by Deutsch/LA on Thursday. The incumbents, WPP’s MindShare and Mediaedge:cia, pitched together as GroupM on Friday, according to sources. The two WPP media networks also handle Mattel media buying, which is not part of the review. Sources said the process does not include Mattel unit Fisher-Price. A decision is due at the end of the first quarter. The agencies and client were unavailable for comment. Makes E-Dating ‘Simple’ in $25 Mil. Campaign

NEW YORK will break a $25 million campaign this week designed to reposition the brand and thwart online dating rival eHarmony, which spent about $60 million on ads last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The work is the first from Hanft Unlimited in New York, which took on the account full time this week after working for the Dallas-based client on a project basis since October. While past work played up success stories, new ads will use black-and-white photos—of children dancing and of a couple waiting to be wed— to show the different emotions love inspires. “Love is complicated. is simple” is the tagline. Ads will appear in People, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone, among other periodicals. TV will follow in March.

Miller Brewing Appoints Marketing Services Director

CHICAGO Former Leo Burnett president Bob Brennan said he’s looking forward to becoming deeply involved in only one client’s business again. Brennan, who left Publicis Groupe-owned Burnett in October 2003, last week accepted a position as director of marketing services for Miller Brewing Co. in Milwaukee. Brennan takes over from Steve Buerger, who left Miller in December for a job with Time Warner in New York. In the position, Brennan will oversee all media buying and planning, as well as interactive and sports and event marketing. He will report to Miller evp of marketing Bob Mikulay. The position will put him back in contact with the agency he helped found, Publicis Groupe’s Starcom in Chicago. Starcom handles planning and buying for the brewer’s $270 million U.S. account. Creative is done mainly by WPP Group shops Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam.

5 Agencies to Produce ‘Iconic’ Ads for Coke Classic

NEW YORK Coca-Cola Co. has concluded its review involving “iconic” ad ideas for its flagship brand, the company said. Five agencies are producing work that will run in different markets overseas and possibly in the U.S. Worldwide CMO Chuck Fruit said IPG’s McCann Erickson offices in Spain and London, Publicis in New York, WPP’s Berlin Cameron in New York, independent Mother in London, and independent shop Internationale in Berlin, Germany, will have work ready to run in the second quarter.