IPG Nears $10 Mil. Equity Deal With Networking Site Facebook

NEW YORK IPG is in final negotiations of a partnership deal with social networking site Facebook that would give the holding company a small piece of the operation, the companies confirmed. The pact, which could be completed this week, calls for IPG to spend up to $10 million for clients on Facebook in exchange for a 0.5 percent stake in the startup, per sources. Such a deal would give IPG opportunities beyond display advertising to include IPG mining Facebook for market research trends among its user base, according to sources. Started by Harvard college student Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, Facebook quickly became a fixture at campuses nationwide, giving students the chance to connect with one another through profile pages. In May, it drew 14 million visitors, according to ComScore, more than double a year ago. Linking up with IPG could further Facebook’s development of an ad model. The site has not concentrated on advertising, relying on third-party ad networks for many of the placements on its site.

Cinema Advertising Surpasses Half-Billion Mark in 2005

NEw YORk The Cinema Advertising Council will disclose this week that in-theater advertising was up 21percent to $527 million in 2005, for the first time breaking the half- billion revenue barrier. The medium’s top advertisers in 2005 included American Express, Army National Guard, Hyundai, Nike, Toyota, Unilever, Verizon, Wal-Mart and Xbox, the Microsoft gaming system, CAC said. Declining attendance (down 9 percent in 2005, per the Motion Picture Association of America) and flat box office make in-theater ad sales critical for theater owners, said Robert Martin, CAC’s president.

IPG Says McCann Did Not Attend Reckitt Briefings

NEW YORK IPG said that McCann Erickson was not at Friday’s briefings involving agencies pitching Reckitt Benckiser’s estimated $600 million global creative account. It had earlier been scheduled to attend [Adweek, June 12]. “McCann is not attending meetings related to the review because it is not pitching Reckitt Benckiser,” said the rep, who added that the agency is nonetheless “fulfilling outstanding obligations as its winds down” its tenure on the former Boots Healthcare brands that Reckitt Benckiser acquired in October. Several months ago, the London-based client launched a review designed to pare the number of roster shops from three (McCann, WPP’s JWT and Havas’ Euro RSCG) to two. But last month, IPG CEO Michael Roth ordered McCann to withdraw to honor a 2001 agreement that IPG struck with S.C. Johnson, a client of Foote Cone & Belding. (Under the deal, IPG severed its ties to Reckitt, then a McCann client.) A week later, however, McCann presented work to the client on a day that the other shops were pitching [Adweek, May 15], raising questions about the withdrawal. Since then, IPG has maintained that McCann is no longer pitching the business.

Four Make Final Presentations This Week on $45 Mil. Centrum

NEW YORK Executives at Wyeth Laboratories will hear final presentations this week on its $45 million Centrum account, sources said. WPP’s Grey, IPG’s McCann Erickson, Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group, all New York, and the Irvington, N.Y., incumbent, Carrafiello Diehl & Associates, were asked to present a brand campaign and separate efforts for Centrum’s line of vitamin and nutrition products, sources said. The agencies either declined comment or referred call to the Madison, N.J., client, where executives were unavailable for comment.

Bush Raises Maximum Fines For Indecency to $325,000

WASHINGTON President Bush on Thursday signed legislation that increases maximum fines for broadcast indecency to $325,000, 10 times higher than the previous maximum penalty. “In recent years, broadcast programming has too often pushed the bounds of decency,” Bush said at a ceremony attended by members of Congress and FCC chairman Kevin Martin. “We must ensure that decency standards for broadcasters are effectively enforced,” Bush said. “That’s the duty of the FCC. That’s why we’ve got the chairman standing right here.” Bush called the previous maximum penalty of $32,500 “relatively painless” for some broadcasters.

News Roundup

The newly merged Draft FCB Group and former FCB chief growth officer Chris Shumaker have “mutually agreed” to part ways, according to an agency rep. Shumaker, 46, who joined the IPG agency in January from Grey, was hired by former Grey North America CEO Steve Blamer (who is leaving his post as CEO of FCB Worldwide). … Wunderman has filled its chief creative officer post in New York with Nick Moore, former executive creative director at Tequila in London. Moore, 44, succeeds Joel Sobelson, who left last September. In his new role, Moore will oversee more than 100 staffers and report to office president Steve Zammarchi. New York is the headquarters of Wunderman, a unit of WPP’s Young & Rubicam Brands.