Mediaedge:cia Wins $270 Mil. DreamWorks Media Account

New York WPP’s Mediaedge:cia was awarded the media planning and buying account for film studio DreamWorks SKG without a review, sources said. According to TNS Media Intelligence, DreamWorks spent $270 million on ads in 2005. The incumbent was Omnicom’s GSD&M. DreamWorks was acquired by Paramount in January. Mediaedge:cia took over the $550 million Paramount media account in January of 2005 after a review.

5 Shops Vie for $100 Mil. Media Planning for Clothing Retailer

New York Clothing retailer The Gap has launched a review of its $100-plus million media planning account, the client confirmed. It covers the main Gap brand as well as Gap Body, Baby Gap, Gap Maternity and Gap Kids, per sources. Contenders in the review include Omnicom’s PHD (Gap’s buying incumbent), Aegis Group’s Carat, WPP’s Mediaedge:cia, Publicis’ StarLink and independent Palisades Media Group. The San Francisco-based retailer does much of its planning in-house and said the review winner will serve as “planning partner,” a role that Publicis’ Starcom filled until parting ways recently due to a conflict, a Gap rep said. Client ad spending in ’05 was about $100 million, per TNS Media Intelligence. The next round of presentations is scheduled for mid-April, with a decision expected by early May, sources said.

WPP’s Benatti Files Defamation Suit Against CEO Martin Sorrell

New York Marco Benatti, former head of Italian operations at WPP, has filed a criminal defamation complaint against WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, a Benatti rep confirmed last week. The complaint was filed as a result of press coverage of a decision made by a London High Court on March 8 that ruled in favor of WPP in a breach of contract suit against Benatti. The court ruled in favor of WPP because Benatti and his lawyers defaulted by not showing up for the March 8 court date. Benatti alleges that following that decision, WPP spread word to journalists of his “guilt,” as determined by what his lawyers subsequently called an “irregular ruling,” sources said. Responding last week, WPP said Benatti’s defamation claim had no merit.

New Kia Spots Opt for Humor To Relaunch Midsize Optima

LOS ANGELES Kia Motors America relaunches the Optima midsize sedan today with three humorous spots from independent davidandgoliath here. The 30-second spots have a common theme of costumed oddballs—a mime, a yodeler and a tuxedo-wearing stand-up comic—being picked up by a silent Transporter-like driver. One spot emphasizes the Optima’s size by showing the time it takes for the yodeler’s echo to return to the backseat. In another, the car’s performance causes the mime to exclaim his enthusiasm out loud. The Irvine, Calif.-based automaker spent $250 million last year on advertising, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, only $3 million against the Optima in the last year before its refresh.

Venables, Bell Breaks Fresca’s ‘Surprisingly Complex’ Print

SAN FRANCISCO Independent Venables, Bell & Partners released its first print work for Fresca last week for the Coca-Cola brand’s relaunch. With the tagline, “Surprisingly complex,” the ads show Fresca cans morphing into complex objects, such as Russian nesting dolls and a jigsaw puzzle. Ads are scheduled to appear in May and June issues of magazines such as Vogue, Sports Illustrated, O and People. Venables won the assignment from Campbell Mithun in late 2005. Fresca spent $14 million on advertising in 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Study: Reducing Kids’ TV Viewing Could Combat Obesity

WASHINGTON The amount of time children spend watching TV or using other screen media increases their requests for advertised foods, beverages and toys, according to a study published in the April edition of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study, which examined more than 800 third-grade children, found that reducing children’s screen time could help combat the current obesity epidemic. Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and a bipartisan coalition of senators introduced a bill last week that would stop the sale of junk food on school grounds.