Aegis Shareholders Snub Bolloré’s Board Nominees

BOSTON Aegis Group last week said shareholders at its annual meeting in London rejected Vincent Bolloré’s bid to name two members to its board. Of the 75 percent of eligible votes cast, 94 percent of those not controlled by Bolloré called for the rejection of the French financier’s proposed appointments, Aegis said. All told, 58 percent of the votes cast went against Bolloré (above), who’s chairman of Paris-based holding company Havas and also owns more than 29 percent of U.K.-based Aegis, parent of the Carat and Isobar agency networks. He is now expected to call an extraordinary meeting of Aegis shareholders in the fall as part of his ongoing efforts to gain more operational clout at the firm. Aegis had espoused the view that granting Bolloré board representation constituted a conflict of interest, likening it to Pepsi nominating members to the Coca-Cola board. His interest in Aegis is maintained through a company operated separately from Havas, parent to the Arnold, Euro RSCG and MPG networks. Should Bolloré’s stake in Aegis surpass 30 percent, he would be required under U.K. law to make a formal bid for the company.

United Airlines Projects $60 Mil. Cut in Ad Spending

NEW YORK United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton last week said the newly restructured company would lay off at least 1,000 workers and cut marketing and advertising costs by $60 million. In 2005, United spent $75 million in measured media after an outlay of $98 million in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Publicis’ Fallon in Minneapolis is the lead agency for United, which emerged from bankruptcy in February. The layoffs represent about 11 percent of the carrier’s 9,400 salaried employees and nearly 2 percent of the total 57,000-person workforce.

Nielsen to Measure TV On Web, iPods, Phones

NEW YORK Nielsen Media Research said it would begin measuring how consumers are watching TV on the Internet, cell phones, iPods and other personal devices under its Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement program. Nielsen said it would soon test new meters to measure video viewed on portable devices, and would add ratings of online streaming video in its People Meter samples by next year, creating a single all-electronic measurement of TV viewing across platforms. This summer it will install and test software meters, including Nielsen/Net Ratings’ technology on the PCs of People Meter homes and will develop metrics enabling it to add that rating data to the overall viewing sample for the 2007-08 broadcast season. Fused TV and Web viewing data will be reported for each broadcast and cable network. It also plans to create a 400-person panel of iPod users by year’s end, to begin test-measuring viewing. Nielsen is owned by Adweek parent VNU.

$15 Mil. MassMutual Moves To Mullen and mediaHub

BOSTON Mullen said it was chosen by MassMutual Financial Group following a review to handle the client’s $15 million ad account, including creative, direct response and interactive chores. The Wenham, Mass.-based IPG shop’s mediaHub unit picks up MassMutual media planning and buying. Euro RSCG works on MassMutual’s Oppenheimer Funds, but that business was not in play. “We’ll bring every resource we have to bear to help MassMutual grow and prosper,” said Mullen CEO Joe Grimaldi. The insurance giant services 13 million customers and has more than $395 billion in assets under management.

General Mills Restructures Payments to Lead Agencies

CHICAGO General Mills said it has revamped its agency compensation and management structure, giving its two lead shops more responsibility about how to best market the products they manage. Under the new arrangement, the Minneapolis company’s two general-market agencies, Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi in New York and IPG’s Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis, will be “brand navigators” for the products they handle, working with minority, interactive and other shops, said Doug Moore, vp, advertising and branding at General Mills. Partner agencies break down mostly along holding company lines. Saatchi’s team includes Bromley Communications for Hispanic ads, Burrell Communications for African-American marketing and Publicis Dialog for interactive work. Campbell Mithun’s lineup includes Cassanova Pendrill Publicidad for Hispanic, Marketing Drive for retail, MRM for interactive and Carol H. Williams for African-American. Most of the company’s media planning and buying is handled by Publicis’ Zenith Media in New York. The client, whose products include Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Yoplait, has not changed any assignments, Moore said. He added it was unlikely the two agency groups would cross lines to work on their assignments, but left open the possibility that brands could shift if performance levels were not met. Agencies will be compensated on “reported net sales,” a measure Moore said was independent of couponing and other discounting to determine the success of a marketing program. Compensation will be based on how well the shops perform against sales goals. “We will pay agencies more if we make the goals, and less if we don’t make the goals,” Moore said. He added the plan included a floor of guaranteed pay for the agencies and a “generous” ceiling for bonus compensation. General Mills spent nearly $650 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

MediaVest Prevails In $40 Mil. Avaya Review

NEW YORK Avaya has confirmed awarding media duties on its global ad account to Publicis’ MediaVest following a review. The estimated worldwide ad spend is $40-50 million. Incumbent Universal McCann, a unit of IPG, did not defend. Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi last week won the client’s creative assignment in a separate competition. Domestic major media spending on the brand has declined in the past three years, from nearly $30 million in 2003 to $20 million in 2004 and less than $10 million last year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Aegis’ Carat, WPP’s Mediaedge:cia and independent Just Media were the other media contenders. Avaya, a provider of telecommunications products and services, is based in Basking Ridge, N.J.

Zimmerman Wins Creative On Six Flags’ $75 Mil. Account

NEW YORK Zimmerman Advertising has been selected to handle Six Flags’ creative chores following a review, the client has confirmed. Estimated billings are $75 million. The Omnicom shop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., bested four other contenders in the final round: WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and JWT, Omnicom’s BBDO and IPG’s Deutsch, all in New York. Each participant got more than two hours to present to nearly a dozen client executives, sources said. Independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., had previously handled Six Flags, running ads featuring a character called “Mr. Six.” The client in February moved media duties from Doner to WPP’s MindShare following a separate review. In January, Six Flags hired OgilvyOne to handle direct and interactive work. Those shops retain those assignments, which were not included in the review won by Zimmerman. “The reason we won is that we were willing to think as big as a national brand deserves, but also as small as 30 retail parks need to,” said agency CEO Jordan Zimmerman.