Hotlines: Late-Breaking Industry News

3 Unilever Roster Shops To Pitch Magnum This Week

NEW YORK Final presentations will take place this week in Unilever’s review of global creative duties on its Magnum ice cream brand, said sources. The contenders are IPG’s Lowe, Omnicom’s DDB and the incumbent, IPG’s McCann Erickson. Each shop will get about two hours to present to a handful of client executives; the pitches are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, said sources. A decision is expected as soon as next week. The agencies, whose pitches are being led by their respective London offices, declined to comment.

U.S. State Department Uses Ad To Soften American Image

NEW YORK The U.S. State Department and Business for Diplomatic Action will unveil a four-and-half-minute spot from Omnicom’s GSD&M Idea City meant to show off the positive side of America, Keith Reinhard, president, Business for Diplomatic Action, said last week. The spot will be shown in about 225 waiting rooms of U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. In it, a man asks, “Who is America?” and a variety of people of different races, creeds and colors answer. Photos of American cities, some donated by Getty Images and others shot by GSD&M, are backed by an instrumental of “America the Beautiful.” It ends with a Native American saying, “Welcome to America.” “We know from research that Americans are better liked than America,” said Reinhard. “It’s kind of a travelogue with people.”

LG Selects BBH for Creative Duties, MindShare for Media

NEW YORK South Korea-based LG Electronics has selected WPP’s MindShare to handle global media chores, although the two sides had not finalized an agreement as of late last week, per sources. Annual estimated global ad spend on the account is $350 million. In the U.S., LG spent $70 million on ads in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Also contending was Publicis’ MediaVest, per sources. MindShare referred calls to the client. MediaVest and LG officials declined to comment, although the client confirmed earlier in the week that it had awarded creative and strategic duties for its cell phone, appliances and computer divisions to Publicis-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Resulting fallout: BBH is parting ways with Dyson because LG makes vacuum cleaners. Dyson spent $52 million on ads in the U.S. in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

IHOP Creative Review Down to Short Stack of Contenders

LOS ANGELES A decision is expected this week to conclude the creative review of IHOP’s $80 million account. Finalists for the restaurant chain’s business, said sources, include the incumbent, IPG’s McCann Erickson here; independent Tactic, Santa Monica, Calif., a shop started in July by Richard Mahan, the former McCann ecd who led IHOP creative for six years there; and MDC’s VitroRobertson, San Diego. Ark Advisors is leading the process. Universal McCann’s media duties were not in play.

MTV Customizes Interstitials For Returning Sponsor Toyota

NEW YORK MTV Networks Entertainment Group has created customized 60-second interstitials for Toyota, the main sponsor for Pros vs. Joes, a show that pits regular people against former professional athletes in competitions. This is the second year Toyota has sponsored the show, which, in January, will enter its third season. It is both an on-air and online media buy. “Last year the focus was more on product integration and prizing for the ‘last Joe standing,’ but this year it is more about co-branded, thematic interstitials,” said Dario Spina, MTV’s svp, integrated marketing. The automotive company is the lead sponsor for the first six of the show’s 10 episodes, from mid-January through March, to coincide with its promotion of the new Sequoia vehicle.

Bolloré Ups Havas Ownership; Within Reach of Takeover Bid

NEW YORK French financier Vincent Bolloré has increased his stake in Havas to 32.8 percent, just under the 33 percent level which triggers a compulsory takeover bid under French law. Bolloré, who made multiple purchases of Havas stock last month, could not be reached, and a Havas rep didn’t respond to requests for comment. Earlier this year, Bolloré said his company’s investment arm would own 31 percent of Havas shares in June as a result of exercising a purchase option and said he had no plans to increase his stake above that level. Bolloré is the largest shareholder in both Havas and its U.K. rival Aegis Group. It’s widely thought Bolloré is interested in combining Carat, Aegis’ media buying unit, with Havas’ MPG media operations.

Mullen Moves HQ From ‘Burbs To Downtown Beantown

BOSTON IPG’s Mullen said it would move its 420-person headquarters from its Wenham, Mass., manor house locale to digs in downtown Boston. The agency will occupy 100,000 square-feet at 40 Broad St., which is being renamed The Mullen Building. The move will take place by June 2009. The shop, formed in 1970, has 700 employees nationwide with other offices in Wintson-Salem, N.C., Pittsburgh and Detroit. Major clients include, LendingTree, MassMutual,, T.J. Maxx and XM Satellite Radio, among others.