Hotlines: Late-Breaking Industry News

WPP’s Q3 Revenue Growth Falls Short of Expectations

BOSTON WPP’s third-quarter revenue rose 4.9 percent to approximately $3 billion, an 8 percent increase in constant currency terms, compared to the same period a year ago, the holding company said on Friday. On a like-for-like basis, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions, Q3 growth was 5 percent. WPP, led by CEO Martin Sorrell, blamed a weak U.S. dollar for hurting results and causing the company to miss analysts’ growth estimates, which had generally been more than 5.5 percent. For the first nine months of 2007, WPP’s global revenue rose about 3 percent to approximately $9 billion, compared to the same period in 2006. In a statment, WPP said it expects a better year in 2008, thanks to the combined impact of the presidential election, the 2008 Olympics and the European football championships. Omnicom will report its third-quarter results Oct. 23, Publicis on Oct. 29 and IPG on Nov. 1.

Starcom Selects AOL’s Buerger as Chief Strategist

NEW YORK Publicis’ Starcom has appointed Steve Buerger to the new post of president and chief strategy officer. Buerger is relocating to Chicago from New York, where he was svp of client solutions at Time Warner’s AOL. Buerger will have three key areas of responsibility, including oversight of the shop’s consumer context planning offering to clients. He will also revamp and oversee the shop’s new business development operation and take on management of four or five major accounts, according to Starcom USA CEO John Muszynski, to whom Buerger will report.

WPP, IPG Pitch Global Dell Account, Await Decision

NEW YORK Teams from WPP and IPG are awaiting a decision in Dell’s global marketing services review, following final presentations last week. The pitches took place Wednesday at Dell’s headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, according to sources. IPG has put forth a collection of its agencies representing different disciplines, while WPP went with a more ad hoc approach, offering to create a dedicated unit made up of individuals from different disciplines, said sources. IPG’s team includes The Martin Agency, for domestic ads; Lowe, international ads; R/GA, interactive duties; MRM, direct marketing duties; zRevenue on the global account, which includes advertising, digital, direct marketing and media duties, is estimated at $100 million. Dell spends approximately $700 million annually in global measured media. Executives from WPP and IPG declined to comment, and Dell could not be reached.

Without Google, Coalition Issues Video Guidelines

NEW YORK A broad coalition of major players in online and traditional media signed off on a set of “collaborative principles” Thursday that they hope will guide the growth of online video while also respecting copyrights. Headlining the agreement are CBS, NBC Universal, News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment and MySpace, Walt Disney and Microsoft. Web video site Veoh Networks, which counts Michael Eisner and Tom Freston among its investors, and Paris-based video-sharing site Dailymotion also are on board. Conspicuously absent is Google, the parent company of YouTube, which Viacom sued in March for $1 billion for copyright infringement. NBCU later signed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the still-unsettled suit.

Tequila Brand Wants to Hear Your Drunken Confessions

NEW YORK Partida Tequila wants you to confess. The two-and-a-half-year-old premium tequila last week launched an interactive marketing campaign from Colangelo & Partners Public Relations. Part of the effort focuses on, a Web site where people are asked to confess to indiscretions that took place while they were drinking tequila. Shot in New York by Dusan Sekulovic, four shorts of people confessing (one to fathering a child in Chicago) are featured on the site. There are also six vignettes of bartenders telling funny tequila stories. Each averages about two-and-a-half minutes in length and generally centers on patrons enjoying large quantities of tequila and then doing things such as downing a worm dug up from the ground. “The goal of the campaign was to tell people about what good tequila is all about in a fun way,” said Gino Colangelo, president of the New York PR practice. “So many people have had experiences with bad tequila, and we wanted to re-educate people as to what good tequila could be.”

U.S. Senators to FCC: Slow Down, Don’t Repeat Mistakes

WASHINGTON Congressional critics of the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to ease the regulations governing the ownership of media properties are vowing to slow, if not stop, chairman Kevin Martin’s intention to move on the plan before year’s end. Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., said in a letter to Martin on Thursday that they “do not believe the commission has adequately studied the impact of media consolidation on local programming” in his push to win votes at the panel on the issue. “The FCC should not rush forward and repeat mistakes of the past,” the lawmakers wrote.

Sneaker Brand Bows ‘Basketball Is Brotherhood’ Theme via 180

LOS ANGELES The broadcast portion of Adidas’ most ambitious global digital and mobile campaign for Team Signature basketball gear breaks tomorrow. Themed “basketball is brotherhood,” the commercials are designed to prompt viewers to text a code to an NBA star, who will call with an invitation to watch 11 serialized branded content episodes of a secret basketball clinic conducted over the summer. At the event, high school athletes arrived at UCLA for a normal camp and wound up playing, eating and bunking with top NBA stars. When users sign up, inspirational and reminder phone messages from the athletes become “personalized” by name. A special buy through Carat has landed the texting code on the cover of Slam, arriving later this week. Portland-based Adidas would not disclose spending, but said it would be the principal push for 2007-08, and is breaking in Europe and Asia this week as well. Omnicom’s 180 in Santa Monica, Calif., created the effort.