Arbitron Sues Media Audit For Patent Infringement

NEW YORK Arbitron said last week that it has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against The Media Audit and its European partner, Ipsos. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that Media Audit/Ipsos’ smart-cell-phone-based ratings methodology runs afoul of three patents Arbitron holds for its portable people meter technology. Arbitron is seeking a permanent injunction against MA/I and compensatory damages. The Houston-based firm emerged as a rival to Arbitron’s PPM during Clear Channel’s request for proposal for an electronic ratings measurement committee. Arbitron has invested more than $80 million over the past 15 years on the PPM, which it plans to roll out in 50 markets in the coming months.

Mediaedge:cia Prevails In Energizer Consolidation

NEW YORK WPP’s Mediaedge:cia has won the estimated $30 million media account of Energizer Holdings’ Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions after a review to consolidate chores at one shop, the client confirmed. Besides MEC, incumbents included Om-nicom’s OMD and Publicis’ Zenith-Optimedia. Initial contenders in the review, sources said, included MEC, OMD and Aegis’ Carat. The latter withdrew, leaving MEC and OMD as finalists, per sources. The consolidated account includes the Energizer, EverReady and Schick brands. MEC’s Global Solutions division in Singapore will oversee the account, the agency said.

Coca-Cola Introduces Calorie-Burning Drink

Drink three cans of Enviga and you could lose an average of 106 calories. Coca-Cola is making that promise about its new sparkling green teas launching next month. The beverage, created in tandem with Nestle, has undergone numerous test studies at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. Coke is so confident in its calorie-burning qualities that Dr. Rhona Applebaum, chief scientist at Coca-Cola, said she hopes consumers are skeptical about its beverage claims as well as others. “When they see the science behind it and the claims are not just pulled out of a hat, I hope they’ll use this as the benchmark to judge other products. There are a lot of products out there [making promises],” she said. One such product is Celsius calorie-burning soda created by a Delray Beach, Fla., company. That beverage is currently available in five flavors. Coke’s version launches in the Northeast next month and nationwide in 2007. The ad campaign will include print, outdoor, online and point-of-purchase components via Anomaly in New York. The marketing message will position Enviga as a “delicious, refreshing, sparkling green tea proven to burn calories,” said Deborah Roberts, senior brand manager, Enviga, Coca-Cola North America.

TBWA\C\D Puts Gallo In Charge of Sprint Nextel

NEW YORK TBWA\Chiat\Day has tapped Absolut account chief Jamie Gallo to oversee the shop’s estimated $600 million Sprint Nextel account, the largest piece of business at its New York office. Gallo, 39, will now manage both Sprint Nextel and the estimated $50-60 million global Absolut account as a managing director. On Sprint Nextel, he fills a vacancy left by the August exit of Robert Birge. The latter, who was managing director for both the account and the office, left to become CMO at IMG Sports & Entertainment in New York. The Omnicom shop also is said to be searching for an executive to run the New York office day-to-day—Birge’s other role—albeit with a different title: president. Gallo previously oversaw the retail portion of the Sprint Nextel business as an executive group director, before shifting to Absolut in April. TBWA\C\D handles consumer ad duties on Sprint Nextel as well as ads for Nextel phones. Gallo joined TBWA\C\D from sister shop Brand Architecture International in 2002. At BAI, he worked on Pernod Ricard.

McCann Pumps Up A ‘Strong’ U.S. Army

NEW YORK New ads for the U.S. Army focus on the desire of potential recruits to gain personal strength, both physical and otherwise, or as the new tagline puts it, learn how to be “Army strong.” The campaign, debuting Nov. 9, is the first work done for the client by IPG’s McCann Erickson since it won the $200 million account last December. Previously, Publicis’ Leo Burnett held the business. A video presenting the new work opens with the Webster Dictionary definition of “strong,” adding, “But with all due respect to Webster, there’s strong, and then there’s Army strong.” Video footage suggests the Army will not shy away from images of Iraq and actual warfare. Soldiers are shown marching through deserts and training in harsh environments. The previous tag, “Army of one,” which sought to empower individuals and counter fears of military conformity among young people, was the previous theme. That line had caused consternation among some soldiers who felt its theme of individuality contradicted their training. The Army was also criticized for not explaining the effort to soldiers before bringing it to the public. In a statement, the Army said it would spend the next month introducing current soldiers to the new positioning. Recruitment has lagged in recent years. The Army had set an active recruiting goal of 80,000 for fiscal year 2006, which began in October. Its reserve recruiting goal for 2006 was 25,500. The Army this week said it has met those goals. (For 2005, the Army missed its goal of 80,000 by 6,627. It fell short of its reserve recruit goal by 4,626.)

Euro RSCG Acquires Osteo Drug Account

NEW YORK Euro RSCG has landed ad duties on osteoporosis drug Boniva after a review in which the incumbent, Saatchi & Saatchi Consumer Healthcare, did not participate, sources said. The Havas agency’s New York office trumped Omnicom’s BBDO, also New York, in the final round, according to sources. Boniva, jointly marketed by GlaxoSmithKline and Roche, had a 2005 U.S. media spend of $70 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. From January through July of this year, the companies spent $75 million in U.S. media. Boniva is a once-a-month medication to treat or prevent the bone-thinning condition, which is common among the elderly. Euro RSCG was a finalist in the 2004 review when Publicis’ Saatchi won the account. Other contenders in that contest two years ago were WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather and IPG’s McCann HumanCare. Representatives at the agencies referred calls to Hoffmann-La Roche in Nutley, N.J., where a representative was not immediately available for comment.

Top Marketing Executive Leaves Hyundai Motor

DALLAS Michelle Cervantez has left her post as vp of marketing at Hyundai Motor America just 13 months after arriving from Mercedes-Benz. Her departure comes after Hyundai reported September sales fell 13 percent to 33,384 vehicles compared to the same month a year ago. COO Steve Wilhite, who played key roles in marketing at Nissan and Volkswagen, joined Hyundai two months ago, though it was unclear if his arrival precipitated her departure. It’s unclear if a successor is being sought. The Richards Group, an independent agency in Dallas, handles Hyundai’s $425 million advertising account. Cervantez became the only female vp at Mercedes’ Montvale, N.J., headquarters when she joined from Ford in March 2003. Cervantez, according to sources, had left Mercedes because she wanted to work in California, where Hyundai is based.