Dieting Company Names Pile To Manage $70 Mil. Review

NEW YORK Weight Watchers has hired Pile and Co. to lead a review of its estimated $70 million ad account, now at Young & Rubicam here. The WPP agency won the business three years ago in a Pile-led review. BrandBuzz, a unit of WPP’s Y&R Brands, is expected to defend on the incumbent’s behalf, though Y&R declined comment. Boston-based Pile confirmed that it had been hired to manage the process but referred other questions to client executives, who did not return calls. In the last review in 2004, the search came down to Y&R and Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York. Media duties are at WPP’s GroupM here. Client spending in measured media fell just short of $70 million last year, up nearly $20 million from 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The review comes after a string of client-side executive changes in the past year.

Lowe Wins Global Creative On Regent Hotels, Cruises

NEW YORK Lowe has won global creative duties on Regent Hotels & Resorts and Regent Seven Seas Cruises after a review, the client confirmed last week. To win the business, IPG’s Lowe bested one other finalist that could not be ascertained. Billings were not disclosed, but sources estimated them at $20 million. Lowe’s New York and London offices collaborated on the pitch and the account will be run out of New York. Regent, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the resorts division of Carlson Hotels Worldwide and operates properties in North America, Europe and Asia. Previously, Regent Hotels employed several agencies on a project basis, and Regent Seven Seas used a handful of Florida-based shops.

New York Times, Monster Form Alliance in Online Recruitment

NEW YORK The New York Times Co. and Monster Worldwide last week disclosed an alliance designed to expand their shares of the help-wanted classified market. The alliance will combine Monster’s brand, reach and technology with the content and market penetration of 19 NYT newspaper Web sites. Monster is the leading online employment service, with 25 million unique visitors per month. Under the deal, NYT and Monster will create co-branded helped-wanted and recruitment sites within the online editions of the newspapers. For example, readers of, the Boston Globe’s online affiliate, will be able to click through to a co-branded site. Fox Studios Awards $350 Mil. International Media to Vizeum

NEW YORK Fox has awarded the international portion of its media account to Aegis Group’s Vizeum, according to sources. That business is worth an estimated $350 million. Fox awarded the North American portion of the account to Publicis’ Zenith Optimedia a month ago. That assignment is worth at least $750 million. The film studio launched a global media review last August, indicating that it would consolidate its account at one shop—or at least trim its roster. Vizeum, Zenith and WPP’s MindShare all competed.

MindShare, GroupM Get New CEOs for N.A. Operations

NEW YORK WPP’s GroupM and one of the agencies it oversees—MindShare—made several senior management changes last week. Scott Neslund, who had headed its Chicago office, was promoted to CEO of MindShare’s North American operations. He succeeds Marc Goldstein, who was elevated to the new post of North American CEO at GroupM, the management unit that oversees the WPP media shops, including MindShare, Mediaedge:cia, Maxus and MediaCom. Neslund reports to Dominick Proctor, worldwide CEO at Mindshare. Goldstein will report to GroupM CEO Irwin Gotlieb. Neslund was replaced in Chicago by Lisa Weinstein, who had been a senior partner there. In addition, global CFO Rupert Day this week was upped to the new post of COO at GroupM, reporting to Gotlieb. Neslund, 41, joined MindShare in 2005 to run the agency’s Chicago office, which handles clients such as Unilever, Sears, Wrigley’s and Kimberly-Clark.

Omnicom’s Q4 Income Rises 9% Over Same Period in 2005

NEW YORK Omnicom last week said its fourth-quarter net income rose 9 percent to more than $277 million (or $1.62 per share) on a 10 percent revenue boost to $3.2 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. Full-year 2006 profit climbed nearly 9.5 percent to $865 million (or $4.99 per share) on an 8.5 percent revenue spike to $11.4 billion, compared to the previous 12 months. The agency holding company said its Q4 domestic sales rose 7 percent to nearly $1.7 billion, while its international revenue increased nearly 12.5 percent to $1.5 billion.

Aflac Brings Sales, Strategic Operations Under Marketing

NEW YORK Insurance company Aflac has centralized its sales and strategic operations under its marketing department. CMO Jeff Herbert said the changes would enable the sales, product marketing and channel marketing groups to become more consumer- and product-focused than before. Publicis’ The Kaplan Thaler Group here has handled Aflac’s advertising since 1999 and created the iconic duck that quacks the company’s name in commercials. The shop will continue in that role, Herbert said. Alfac spends about $75 million in U.S. media, with most of that going to television. IPG’s Fitzgerald + Co. in Atlanta handles Aflac’s U.S. media duties.

Toys R Us Taps SRI to Conduct Review for $90 Mil. Account

LOS ANGELES Toys R Us last week tapped Select Resources International to conduct its creative-only review. Santa Monica, Calif.-based SRI president and CEO Catherine Bension will personally lead the process, which aims to select a new shop by the end of April. The client expressed a preference for a New York agency. The Wayne, N.J.-based business spent $90 million advertising in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The incumbent, WPP’s Young & Rubicam, New York, declined an invitation to defend.

BMW, HD Radio Launch Ad Campaign Touting Alliance

NEW YORK A month after announcing that BMW would optionally install digital HD Radio receivers in all of its 2007 models, the automotive firm has joined with the HD Digital Radio Alliance to launch an on-air campaign. The alliance—a consortium of U.S. broadcasters promoting HD digital radio—is providing BMW free airtime to promote its premium audio offering. Created together with GSD&M, the ads trumpet the high-end car’s brand synergy with high-definition radio. BMW’s push is part of a $250 million ad effort from the HD Digital Radio Alliance, which spent $200 million on a similar effort in 2006.

Hyundai Hires VP of Marketing From Richards Group

LOS ANGELES Hyundai Motor America COO Steve Wilhite last week named The Richards Group director of brand planning Joel Ewanick as his vice president of marketing. Ewanick replaced Michelle Cervantez, who exited last October. Ewanick’s background includes seven years on the client side at Porsche, where he conducted a review that included Richards Group, Dallas, Hyundai’s lead creative agency, though Siltanen & Partners recently landed a national assignment. The client spent $560 million through November 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Unit sales were down 8 percent in January compared to the previous year.