McCann Brings Back DiSesa To Shore Up J&J Account

NEW YORK McCann Erickson is bringing semi-retired chairman of the New York office Nina DiSesa back into the fold in a lead creative role to shore up its Johnson & Johnson account, sources said last week. DiSesa has been consulting since relinquishing the top New York creative post to Joyce King-Thomas in October 2004. A McCann rep would not comment. DiSesa could not be reached at press time. McCann handles some $200 million in global J&J business (not including work handled by MRM and Momentum) on brands such as Acuvue, Band-Aid, Reach, Monostat and Stayfree. J&J’s absorption of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare is spurring management changes throughout the company. McCann, like other roster shops (including Deutsch, DDB, Lowe, JWT and Ogilvy & Mather)is said to be girding for possible shifts in brand assignments.

JWT Out, BBDO, DDB Remain In Hertz’ $50 Mil. Review

NEW YORK Two New York agencies are still in contention for Hertz’ estimated $50 million account: Omnicom’s BBDO and the incumbent, sister shop DDB, sources said. The shops are slated to make more presentations later this month, said sources. The next round follows the cut of WPP’s JWT, whose Atlanta office had pursued the business, according to sources. The agencies declined comment and the Park Ridge, N.J.-based client could not be reached. Both creative and media duties, now at Omnicom’s OMD here, are in play.

Coldwell Banker Narrows to 2 In $20 Mil. Creative Review

NEW YORK Real-estate company Coldwell Banker has selected two finalists to pursue its creative account, the review’s consultant confirmed. Hasan Ramusevic of Hasan + Co. in Raleigh, N.C., said IPG’s Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos here will face off against Havas’ McKinney in Durham, N.C. Sources said that after meetings with the Parsippany, N.J., client earlier this month, four undisclosed agencies would not go forward. Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group here has been the incumbent since 2001, but sources said the agency would not defend the estimated $20 million account.

GM Alters Super Bowl Spot After Suicide Group Complains

LOS ANGELES General Motors confirmed late Friday that it was reversing its original position and had asked agency Deutsch/LA to re-edit one of its Super Bowl spots to eliminate a scene in which a factory robot dreams about committing suicide after being laid off (see related Newswire, p. 40). The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention had earlier claimed that the ad was “potentially dangerous.” A GM rep said, “The one scene of the robot jumping off the bridge will be deleted.”

Fox Business Channel Bowing In Q4 Will Be ‘Business Friendly’

NEW YORK The long-awaited Fox Business Channel will launch in the fourth quarter of 2007, Fox chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch announced last week. Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News and chairman of Fox Television Stations, will oversee FBC. The network is being positioned as a direct competitor to CNBC for the small but demographically significant business news audience. At present, the business channel has 30 million pay-TV subs in its sights, having secured distribution agreements with operators such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter and DirecTV. In his keynote address at the 2007 McGraw-Hill Digital Media Summit in New York, Murdoch said that his network would be “more business friendly than CNBC.”

Ogilvy Sets Up Diversity Panel to Meet Commission’s Goals

NEW YORK Ogilvy & Mather, one of the 16 ad agencies under pressure from the New York City Human Rights Commission to increase the percentage of minorities in its ranks, has created a diversity advisory board to help meet the commission’s goals. The seven-person board is led by Ogilvy North American co-CEO Bill Gray and includes Jay Hershenson, vice chancellor for university relations at the City University of New York; Bonnie Wong, president of Asian Women in Business; Ogilvy New York managing director Andy Berndt; and Natatia Griffith, president of the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women. In September, WPP’s Ogilvy and 15 other shops pledged to meet a series of diversity goals in the next three years.

Cartoon Network Chief Resigns Over ‘Aqua Teen’ Stunt

NEW YORK In the wake of a guerrilla marketing campaign that resulted in a terror panic and a $2 million fine, Cartoon Network chief Jim Samples on Friday tendered his resignation, effective immediately. In a note to Turner colleagues, the Cartoon Network evp and general manager said that his role in last week’s marketing blitz for Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force left him “compelled to step down … in recognition of the gravity of the situation that occurred under my watch.” The stunt raised hackles in Boston after police were deluged with reports that suspect devices had been discovered throughout the area.

Richards Group Names New Creative Chief for Hyundai

LOS ANGELES Group creative head Mike Malone will assume lead duties on Hyundai Motor America at The Richards Group, Dallas, according to Dave Allen, agency principal. He succeeds former lead creative Steve Levit, who departed the agency to head Buick at McCann Erickson’s office here two weeks ago. The elevation of Malone once again makes Dallas the lead office on the account, taking the role from the Huntington Beach, Calif. outpost, which will revert to an account-service office with a half-dozen employees. Sources also said that Hyundai CEO Steve Wilhite will name a CMO as early as this week, to replace Michelle Cervantez, who parted ways with the client last September. Hyundai recently dissolved its dealer-advertising groups and handed a national ad campaign to independent Siltanen & Partners, Marina del Rey, Calif., but Chris Hosford, Hyundai executive director of corporate communications, said last week that there are no plans to review creative or move the account. The client spent $560 million on U.S. ads through November of 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.