LensCrafters, Liberty Mutual Decisions Expected This Week

BOSTON Decisions are expected early this week in reviews for Luxottica Retail’s LensCrafters and Liberty Mutual insurance. Arnold in Boston, DDB in Chicago and The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York are the finalists for creative chores on the $60 million LensCrafters business; incumbent Deutsch in New York is not defending. Finalists in Liberty Mutual’s $50 million review are: Arnold and Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston, as well as New York shops Euro RSCG and incumbent Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners. Agencies in both contests were expected to conclude final presentations on Friday. Consultancy Pile and Co. here is overseeing both reviews.

Deutsch\LA Wins Chevy, Helio, Backs Out of WaMu Review

new york General Motors has awarded some of its Chevrolet marketing business, including its showcase Major League Baseball and Nascar programs, to IPG’s Deutsch\LA, sources said. Campbell-Ewald, GM’s lead agency, previously handled duties. The Marina del Rey, Calif., office also confirmed adding marketing chores for Helio, a new joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink, following a review. Deutsch\LA pulled out of the $100 million Washington Mutual review last Wednesday in order to handle the workload of the new business.

Move to Bid on Aegis Must Be Made by Nov. 25: U.K. Board

NEW YORK The U.K.’s Takeover Panel, a regulatory board that oversees merger and acquisition activity, ruled last Friday that WPP Group and Hellman & Friedman must decide by noon on Nov. 25 whether they intend to make a formal bid for Aegis Group. The ruling came as WPP reported a 26 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to about $2.4 billion compared to the same period a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, revenue rose about 5 percent.

Anomaly Wins Chores for New Virgin America Air Carrier

new york Independent Anomaly has won ad duties on Virgin America, a new lost-cost U.S. air carrier slated to launch next year, client vp of marketing and communications Spence Kramer said. The shop was already working on the client’s brand positioning and design. “This is a strategic assignment and contingent on our getting the rest of our financing,” Kramer added. Sources said the win came after credentials meetings with four other shops: independent Ground Zero in Los Angeles, Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein + Partners in San Francisco, MDC-backed Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, and Havas’ Euro RSCG in New York. No media spend was available for the new brand. The New York-based company, like the high-end carrier Virgin Atlantic, is backed in part by Virgin CEO Richard Branson. Virgin Atlantic spent about $5 million in 2004 media and the same amount from January through June 2004, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Ubisoft Pushes $10 Mil. King Kong Game in Wake of Movie

new york Video-game publisher Ubisoft will launch a campaign for “Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie.” Ubisoft’s $10 million effort, breaking Nov. 11, is the largest in the company’s history. The game, which Microsoft hopes will draw mainstream gamers to the cutting-edge platform, will be featured in Xbox 360’s launch campaign, along with four other titles. Ubisoft will launch two waves of TV ads, via Feref, London. Kong will launch Nov. 22 on eight platforms, the most for the company. The movie King Kong will premiere Dec. 14. Ubisoft spent $25 million on media last year and $16 million January-August 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

News Roundup

Steve LeNeveu, director of strategic planning at Publicis Seattle, will be director of strategic planning at WPP’s JWT in New York, the shop confirmed. LeNeveu, 48, fills a vacancy left by the July shift of David Lamb to JWT in London, where he became director of multinational clients. … New York’s Johnson & Johnson appointed Kim Kadlec to the new position of vp, worldwide media, and Joseph McCarthy to the new role of vp, worldwide advertising and marketing communications. Kadlec was vp, branded entertainment at NBC Universal. McCarthy was a partner at Boston-based MMB.