Newswires: Late-Breaking Industry News

United Wins Global Campaign For 2008 Summer Olympics

BOSTON The International Olympic Committee last week tapped WPP’s United for a global integrated marketing campaign. Other contenders for the business were Havas Sport and two Publicis agencies: Leo Burnett and incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi. United’s pitch was led by Sra. Rushmore United in Madrid, Spain. Burnett pitched from its London and Toronto offices, Saatchi from New York and Havas from Paris. Per the IOC’s brief, revenue on the assignment is $2 million. United will fashion TV, online and viral executions, as well as experiential marketing elements and PR efforts. The 2008 Summer Games will take place in Beijing, China. The estimated media support is $120 million. Media buying chores are not part of the assignment, as the IOC negotiates airtime as part of its worldwide broadcast deals.

Grey Names StrawberryFrog’s Hardwick New York President

NEW YORK WPP’s Grey tapped Steve Hardwick last week as president of its office here, a slot left vacant since 2003 when Steve Blamer held the title. Hardwick, 44, had served seven months as president of independent StrawberryFrog. He begins at the 525-person office next month and reports to Grey Global Group chairman and CEO Jim Heekin. Hardwick’s mandate as head of Grey’s flagship office is to develop a creative vision for the agency and recruit top talent, according to Heekin. Before joining StrawberryFrog, Hardwick helped run the Bank of America account when it was with IPG’s roster of agencies. Hardwick produced the independent film The Shovel, which starred David Strathairn and won several honors, including the Tribeca Film Festival 2006 award for best narrative movie.

IPG Faces 2 Shareholder Proposals at Annual Meeting

NEW YORK An IPG shareholder is again calling for the holding company to separate the roles of chairman and CEO, and another investor has proposed that shareholders have the ability to call special meetings as needed. IPG opposes both proposals. A special meeting would require the approval of investors holding at least 10 percent of IPG’s outstanding common shares, according to that proposal, which defines “special” as “sufficiently important to merit expeditious consideration. “The proposed resolutions are part of IPG’s proxy statement, which the company filed April 25 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The document lays out IPG’s agenda for its annual Meeting of Stockholders, which is set for May 24 here.

McCann Wins Creative Duties On $70 Mil. Weight Watchers

NEW YORK IPG’s McCann Erickson last week won creative chores on Weight Watchers’ estimated $70 million ad account in a review handled by Pile and Co. McCann and Omnicom’s DDB made final presentations to the client. McCann and Omnicom Group’s DDB made final presentations to the client. IPG’s Deutsch withdrew from the process in March, according to Pile. BBDO decided late last week not to attend the final pitch when the agency learned its idea was too similar to McCann’s, which had already shared its ideas with the client in a pre-pitch meeting more than a week prior, sources said. The client gave BBDO the weekend to come up with a new idea but the agency decided not to go through with a final pitch, sources said. WPP’s Young & Rubicam in New York was the incumbent. Client-side management changes last year, including those of CEO David Kirchoff and director of advertising Carl Swedberg, sparked the review, per sources.

Supreme Court Hears Argument Against Election Advertising Ban

WASHINGTON The Supreme Court is weighing whether to roll back a key provision of campaign finance law that would allow political ads by third parties to air in the weeks leading up to the 2008 primaries and general election. At issue in the case the justices heard last week is what distinguishes a political ad from lobbying messages. A Wisconsin anti-abortion group ran ads leading up to the 2004 election that urged citizens to contact their senators to oppose congressional filibusters. The ads did not name candidates, but referred people to a Web site that did. Because the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act prevents corporations and labor unions from paying for ads naming candidates for office that are broadcast 60 days before an election or 30 days before a primary, the Wisconsin group could not air their ads during the blackout period. The group sued, arguing its ads were grassroots lobbying messages and not political ads. The court is expected to decide the case before the 2008 primaries begin.

DDB Healthcare Names First Worldwide President

NEW YORK Mark Goldstone, a global healthcare account director at Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, last week became the first worldwide president of Omnicom’s DDB Healthcare, the network’s collection of pharmaceutical marketing shops. Goldstone, who starts today and reports to DDB Worldwide CEO Chuck Brymer, will function as “practice leader” of shops such as DDB Remedy in Australia and Ciel et Terre in France, as well as the healthcare arms of DDB and Tribal DDB, said a DDB rep. In his previous post, Goldstone, 44, helped manage Publicis Healthcare’s global Sanofi-Aventis account. Before that, he was CEO of Interbrand Wood, the healthcare unit of Omnicom’s Interbrand, where Brymer previously was worldwide CEO.

Euro RSCG Splits With Kling, Creative Head of N.Y. Office

NEW YORK Euro RSCG confirmed last week that the ecd of its New York office, Jeff Kling, has left the Havas shop. Kling was hired by then-ecd Kevin Roddy in February 2004. His duties will be absorbed by ecds Michael Lee, 54, and Alicia Johnson, 47, according to an internal memo from worldwide CEO David Jones. Kling, 40, joined what was then called Euro RSCG MVBMS from independent Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Omnicom Global Revenue Rises 11% Over Same Period Last Year

BOSTON Omnicom last week posted an 11 percent global revenue rise to almost $2.85 billion and a 10 percent gain in earnings to $183 million (or $1.09 a share) in the first quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. Organic revenue, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations and acquisitions, rose nearly 7.5 percent. In the U.S., revenue rose almost 8 percent to $1.55 billion, while international revenue soared 15 percent to $1.3 billion. The healthy Omnicom numbers came a week after rival WPP posted a sluggish first-quarter performance. WPP blamed an 11 percent decline in the value of the U.S. dollar against the U.K. pound sterling for basically flat Q1 revenue of about $2.74 billion, compared to the same period a year ago.

Nike Taps Crispin for Creative On Running Shoe, Nike+ and ID

NEW YORK Nike last week shifted its global running-shoe account, as well as its Nike+ and Nike ID Web site business, to MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The running-shoe business had been at independent Wieden + Kennedy. The Portland, Ore.-based agency remains Nike’s primary creative shop. first reported last month that the client was looking beyond Wieden, its primary agency partner for decades, on the running-shoe business, and that Crispin was under consideration for the work. R/GA’s duties on Nike ID and Nike+, which include site design and implementation, are not affected. Nike spends more than $200 million annually on U.S. ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.